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Wegmans: Owings Mills Mall ‘Not a Desirable Location’

A supermarket official told Baltimore County Council Chairwoman Vicki Almond in a letter that Wegmans would not go to the Owings Mills mall even if rezoning for Foundry Row fails.

Wegmans supermarket officials have made it clear to Baltimore County Councilwoman Vicki Almond that the store will only open at Foundry Row, and nowhere else in Owings Mills.

“I know assertions have been made that an appropriate location for Wegmans may be the Owings Mills mall property,”  read from Ralph Uttaro, Wegmans’ senior vice president of real estate development. 

“We have consistently maintained our stance that the Owings Mills mall property is not a desirable location for a Wegmans store,” said the letter that was sent late last month.

Almond contacted Wegmans officials, who have signed on to open a store at the former Solo Cup site, to see how they felt about the mall property.

Two other developers near Foundry Row—the development where the Wegmans store would be located—have complained that Foundry Row is incompatible with their plans. Those developers are Kimco and General Growth Properties, which are overseeing the  and David S. Brown Enterprises, which is building the .  

Greenberg Gibbons is the developer working to redevelop the Solo Cup site with Wegmans and other retail. The Solo Cup site would have to be rezoned from a manufacturing to a business classification in order for Wegmans open.

Almond said she is trying to work with all of the developers.

“I’m trying to gather all the information I can to make a good judgment call for the zoning,” she said.

Uttaro’s letter said that Wegmans considered a request to put a store at the mall location several years ago and rejected the location back then.

“Annually, we are offered hundreds of sites, and we only choose 2-3 locations to build and open,” the letter said. “We consider the market, the specific site, the creativity of the project and the developer, among other things, in making our decision.”

The letter further states that if rezoning of the Solo Cup location is not approved, Wegmans will “not locate a store at Owings Mills Mall.”

“I’ve made no promises, but at the same time, I’ve shown my excitement for the project and I’m excited and I’m excited for all three projects,” Almond said.

Officials involved with the mall redevelopment and Metro Centre project have expressed , not to Wegmans specifically.

“This is a retail development that somewhat out-positions the mall, and if you put big box retailers out on Reisterstown Road, it will have a dramatic impact on who can be attracted to come back to the mall,” said Geoffrey Glazer, Kimco’s vice president of acquisitions and development for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. “Good planning is not based around a retailer, it’s based around a good planning exercise for what’s appropriate to be around a corridor.”

The and the have expressed their support for all three projects. the three developments can work together and thrive together.

“In my opinion, all three sites are incredibly different and will offer different services and different retail,” she said. “… I think people in our area and from all over our area are so hungry for places to shop so they don’t have to go outside their community.”

PATRICK NORTH March 07, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I really think that the solo cup property is a bad location. Traffic will double in size and the accident ratio will climb. The location needs to be placed in a location that will reduce traffic on Reisterstown Road. I also feel that disabled people would get run over because the traffic is to fast and the traffic lights change to quickly. Yours truely Patrick North Preaident/ CEO of Caton Limousine Service at www.catonlimo.com. 866-507-5256
BluePeace March 07, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Perhaps the mall property developer (Kimco) should re-think their plans about the mall. There is absolutely NO guarantee that their project will attract retailers if the Solo Cup/Foundry Row project doesn't get approved for the rezoning it is seeking. I always thought the location (of where the mall currently sits) was horrible. It would be better served as a residential community and/or a community park surrounded by a lake. A while back, I had recommended that the mall building be demolished, but maintain the Macy's and JC Penney stores and using the rest of the land for a few restuarants, maybe, some additional housing and a county park that surrounds a man-made lake, accompanied by a walking trail. I am all for the Solo Cop/Foundry Row project - landing a Wegman's would be a major boost to the local economy. I am confident that the developer and SHA can design a traffic plan/strategy that can address the traffic concerns along Reisterstown Road.
BluePeace March 07, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Energy and enthusiasm can only go so far, Buck. Let's hope she does have the skills.
CP March 07, 2012 at 01:46 PM
So you know traffic volumes have not increased in that area in the last ten years. Pretty sure the road will be widened to accommodate the extra traffic. Besides any economic activity would be appreciated. Are we really worried about extra traffic? In my opinion it's a bad location for Wegmans due to the crime rate in the area.
ddbs00 March 07, 2012 at 02:08 PM
CP: out of curiosity, where did you find the data regarding traffic volume in that area over the last 10 years?
CP March 07, 2012 at 02:19 PM
From SHA.
Stacy Deems March 07, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Is anyone else concerned about the crime rate in these areas and where quality employees will come from? Granted, I'm from the MidWest originally so I may see things a bit differently, but overall I feel that customer service in this area is greatly lacking. I am tired of being helped by rude/disinterested employees wherever i shop. And the stores around here are just dirty and unkempt. Lately I have been doing my shopping off of York Rd, in Westminster and in Eldersberg where the stores are better taken care of. Even if Wegman's comes to OM, it will have to really impress me to make me stop going to the Hunt Valley location. I just don't see this area being able to support a Wegman's economically and with quality employees. Also, I'm afraid that the Mall Project and Metro Center will turn into a Security Square. High crime, dirty and again low customer service. Am I alone in these thoughts?
ab March 07, 2012 at 02:53 PM
cp: Your comments on crime in the area are without proof and are ill spoken. Owings Mills, Pikesville, and Reisterstown are hardly ever heard in realms of News headlines. Crime is inevitably everywhere. Yet, comments like your give the area a black-eye for no reason. I think the Mall should stop being fearful, embrace the neighbor and bring the subway onto mall parking lot or tie it in with an avenue. We have to be bold in this century as we compete against other malls like Towson, Mondawmin, Arundel Mills, and Security. Be different. Everybody that catches the subway isn't a criminal. If so, people that catch light rail must be the same (hunt valley).
BluePeace March 07, 2012 at 03:04 PM
First of all, if you so concerned about the "crime" and inferior quality of life in the Owings Mills area, you are definitely free to relocate to a community that has the attributes you are more comfortable with. No one is stopping you. The reality is that all "urban" communities will have some element of crime or disharmony. Some communities have more, others have less. Secondly, no, I do not think you are alone in your thoughts. Thirdly, there is absolutely no way a Wegman store would tolerate such characteristics (in their employees) that you describe in your post. Lastly, if you are tired of being helped by rude/disinterested employees, complain to the management of those enterprises you patronize. Please do not allow a few poor customer service experiences reflect the overall quality of Owings Mills.
BluePeace March 07, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I agree, ab. Crime is everywhere. And since crime is an inevitable occurence in today's society, communities must work together to augment their involvement in countering crime and the ugly impact it has on shopping centers and other places where people like to frequent.
Carrie G. March 07, 2012 at 05:42 PM
This is what ruined Owings Mills to begin with, after developing the mall how long did it take them to build the surrounding restaurants, movie theater, and where is the lake they promised. Owings Mills was suppose to be Columbia (before there was a Columbia) as we know it. Bureaucracy is what is going to mess this up why have all these undeveloped properties. Maybe it will help sell some houses around here, would you buy a house in area that you always had to drive 15-20mins away to do some shopping?? No! Only if you wanted to live in the country not an urban area. It's crazy if the rezoning doesn't go through will be left with some run down old factory and a huge wasted mall with nothing in it. How attractive is that? Having any kind of major retailers in this area will certainly help boost our economy in this area does anybody realise how many people Wegmans hire? There benefits are awesome and are great to their employees. I agree the it is very hard to find good workers in this area, I was a manager at Bed Bath & Beyond for 10years turnover was high. With major retailers though they will bring in qualified employees from around the country to work there. They don't just hire anybody to roll sushi, cook prepared meals, or cut meat they bring in trained chefs. Let's not screw this up again, let them build and actually make Owings Mills a place to actually go to. Gas prices are tooo high for me to keep driving to Westminster, Hunt Valley, Towson etc.
David cohn March 07, 2012 at 07:09 PM
I have recently spent some time in the Belair area. It is incredible how many shopping centers there are in that area. Especially around the intersection of RTE 24 and Belair Road. Also along RTE 24 between Belair Road and I-95. There are several well known Supermarkets, Big Box stores, National chain restaurants, as well as smaller independent small businesses and restaurants. There is a hospital, and indoor mall (Belair Mall), a large outdoor mall (Belair Marketplace) and various other shopping centers large and small. There is a lot of traffic but it is well controlled even during rush hour or on the weekend. If Belair and Harford county can manage this situation, I am sure Owings Mills and Baltimore County can too.
BluePeace March 07, 2012 at 08:05 PM
But, Mr. Cohn, unlike Owings Mills, Belair is believed to not have the 'element' (as a few people here call them) that comes there on a metro train....you see, that's the major difference and A reason why a segment of people who post here feel that the mall redevelopment cannot be a success.
Teri March 08, 2012 at 04:30 AM
I want Wegmans here in Owings Mills. I also want a library in the area. Nothing you can do about the metro it is already here. Mr. Brown, fix your mall.
Chuck Burton March 08, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Wegmans is the kind of attractive store that upgrades a neighborhood and helps bring in other developments of a similar kind. Prediction: if Wegmans is denied, Owings Mills will begin to go downhill, and no matter what Mr. Brown and Kimco do, those of us who live in the area will be eventually hurt by declining property values and increasing crime rates, as the area becomes steadily less desireable. We need all the quality shopping we can get, and we don't have it now. Macy and JCP are little better than Walmart and Target, and the Mall hasn't been able to make itself attractive to customers of higher level stores which have failed. Will a rebuilt Mall, even combined with Metro Center do any better? 'Remains to be seen.
Chuck Burton March 08, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Additional comment: If the rebuilt Mall could bring in a food store such as Harris-Teeter or Whole Foods to compete with Wegmans it might develop the kind of traffic it needs to succeed and attract more upscale retailers. This could make O.M. a REAL business center because it would lure quality business.
DC March 08, 2012 at 07:25 PM
No you are not a lone in these thoughts. I have been stating for over a year that neither the Metro Center project, the Mall redevelopment, nor Wegmans coming will do anything to make this area better - in fact I truly believe that all it will do is attract even more crime.
Chuck Burton March 08, 2012 at 08:42 PM
I noticed on the Mall rebuilding plans, an unidentified building about as large as the rest of the mall combined. What would fit there? Maybe a Walmart Supercenter? That would likely bring in traffic to make the Mall a success, but the other business it would attract is not the kind we need here to upgrade the area. Nor would it do Mr. Brown's Metro Center any favors, either.
Marc Shapiro (Editor) March 08, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Hey Chuck, the plan leaves open the possibility for a third big box store to be another anchor of the project. The space could wind up being split between more than one retailer depending on who would sign on as well.
Charles Kane March 09, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Does anyone else see the irony of what Howard Brown is doing? When it was first announced several years ago that Solo Cup would be selling the property, Mr. Brown was the main proponent and prospect to develop a retail project on that site. He had no problems with traffic then. Now that someone else is planning the project, he is opposed to retail there. Could this be a case of sour grapes?
Buck Harmon March 09, 2012 at 02:38 PM
more like a case of sour raisins...
Norma Bosley March 09, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I have lived in Owings Mills for 48 years and have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am so tired of people's one-sided view of our beloved community. OM has benefited from Stevenson University locating here and the building of the new library and college center. Wegman's would bring an upscale business to our area, and if the mall develops wisely, that could be the jewel of the area as was originally intended. The developers need to work together, or everyone will lose in the end. We do not need any more vacant buildings in our area, so come on, boys, and play nice!
medrano March 10, 2012 at 09:13 AM
walmart would be the worst thing to bring into the redevelopment it would drive business away. there is a reason there are zero walmarts in nyc to keep competition alive. if one high end retailer signs in the rest will follow
ab March 10, 2012 at 05:15 PM
I owned a retail store in Owings Mills Mall for 7yrs. Furthermore, I reside In the OM corridor. During my tenure, I witnessed a demise due to the fact that despite having a vision, business owners and decision makers let their fears win instead. Fears of crime, fears of an akwardly built mall's direction of growth, fears of the malls leadership, fears of the financial stability of the area, fears of area demographic, yet mostly- fears of this areas position in this economic race to be competitive from city to city within our state. At this point, we all agree something has to be done! The problems is what culture will we embrace. The area is very diverse. Tony Hsieh, CEO of a famous online .com retailer recently stated, "culture is to company as community is to city. Meaning getting this right could be a springboard to advance a culture, getting it wrong many would argue could be a 30 year mistake." Are we embracing an upscale innovative mindstate or one of socioeconomic gentrification? Will it be a cultural center based on Jewish, asians, or all intellectually gifted, or other? These are the bigger issues. The issue of crime will be a cloud of gloom regardless. Crime regroups and adapts to its surroundings. New store + New area= new stuff to steal with /same old reasons! Furthermore, as Bluepeace stated we must not be fearful of the criminalistic possibilities that metro subway present, for it is already an exisiting fixture we must learn to conquer.
Chuck Burton March 11, 2012 at 01:52 PM
What's wrong with having merchants who cater to everyone? Jewish, Christian, Asian, African-American, Latino, everyone. As long as they have a buck to spend, people have needs. Cater to those needs and you'll likely do OK. We don't need some kind of ghetto in O.M. And crime occurs even among the most prosperous of us. Bernie Madoff fors example.
Jack Black March 11, 2012 at 02:32 PM
The sick and twisted idea that people actually think they need more places to shop at especially large corperate run megaliths. No wonder they call you consumers.Your not happy unless your continuously destroying everything around. I say raze the useless properties and bring the deer back home!
Buck Harmon March 11, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Why not include something that does not exist in the community....learning opportunities, like a really nice Trades/Arts Campus, surrounded by businesses that promote healthy lifestyle...
Chuck Burton March 11, 2012 at 03:13 PM
So what you're saying is get rid of the people (except yourself, of course). People have needs and desires, and want them gratified - this means merchants are wanted and needed too. Isn't it better to have them all in relatively small clumps than spread out everywhere?
Ian August 05, 2012 at 12:32 AM
I don't shop, eat, or drink in Owings Mills. And I live in New Town. I drive to Hunt Valley, Towson, Baltimore, Columbia, and even Laurel occasionally. Having a Wegmans in OM would guarantee me spending hundreds of dollars a month locally.
Chuck Burton August 05, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Hard to believe you wouldn't stop by the New Town Giant when you forgot to pick up a food item in Columbia or Towson. Try the summertime produce stand on McDonough Rd, or Trader Joe in Pikesville, or Aldi in Cherryvale for cheap but decent staples. Look around - you might find something among the little shops in Pikesville or Reisterstown.

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