Rezoning Casts Owings Mills Mall Success in Doubt, Owner Says

Potential commercial rezoning along Reisterstown Road, including at the Solo Cup property, could spread the retail market in Owings Mills too thin, a Kimco Realty vice presdent says.

The could be in trouble if the Baltimore County Council approves commercial rezoning along Reisterstown Road, including at the former manufacturing property, a vice president for the mall developer said.

Geoffrey Glazer, vice president of acquisitions and development for Kimco Realty, which is a 50 percent stakeholder at the mall along with previous sole owner General Growth Properties, said there simply were not enough shoppers to keep the new mall -- and the new retail developments rezoning might create -- afloat.

He said if Baltimore County does not spend more time on planning, the redeveloped mall could again become a blight on the area. The existing indoor Owings Mills mall .

“We believe there needs to be some real thorough thought about planning,” Glazer said. “I’m concerned about all the potential up-zoning on Reisterstown Road.”

The Solo Cup site, currently zoned for manufacturing, must be rezoned before developer Greenberg Gibbons Commercial can begin work in earnest on its retail project. will cover more than 125,000-square feet of the development, which . 

But, according to Glazer, allowing rezoning at Solo Cup in addition to other commercial rezoning requests in the area could spread the retail market too thin in Owings Mills. 

“So, maybe the previous owner didn’t move quickly enough [at the mall],” Glazer said. “But we’re here now." Kimco intends to release plans for what the redevelopment might look like in January, Glazer said.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz declined to comment, but , Kamenetz said he felt the mall, Foundry Row and the projects were "all inter-related."

He also said that each development would bring the best out of the others, and that his office would maintain an "ongoing dialogue with all three project developers to coordinate a marketing scheme that will be complementary and not competitive."

But Kimco was not necessarily on board with that idea.

“Not everything can happen," Glazer said. "I think people need to have better answers.”

Glazer based his assertion partially on 2011 Nielsen Company estimates that indicated 577,000 people with an average household income of better than $82,000 lived within a 10-mile radius of Owings Mills.

The numbers already calculated and provided to Kimco led the developer to believe there would be plenty of shoppers to populate some 600,000-square feet of new retail at the mall – but not when combined with significant additional development in the corridor.

Glazer said Kimco was aware of potential rezoning at Solo Cup and elsewhere, but “not to the level we know now.

“It all happened really quickly after [the mall redevelopment announcement],” he said.

Kimco has also hired a Washington, D.C., group to conduct an independent marketing study. The results will be available in January, Glazer said.

Baltimore County Councilwoman Vicki Almond (District 2), who represents the area that includes the old Solo Cup property, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Councilman Kenneth Oliver (District 4), who represents the rest of Owings Mills, including the land on which the mall is situated, said he intended to meet with Almond next week to discuss all of the rezoning requests in the area. He declined specific comment on Kimco’s concerns.

In the meantime, Glazer said Kimco was receiving tepid interest from potential tenants, who were waiting to see what happened with rezoning in the area before deciding whether to sign on with the redeveloped regional shopping center.

“We’re out there, talking to players,” Glazer said. “They want clarity.”

That clarity comes when the rezoning decisions are made in September, he said, but there appears to already be a campaign beginning to stop rezoning plans.

A flyer left at an Owings Mills home pleaded with voters to tell Almond and Kamenetz that rezoning parts of Reisterstown Road was not in the best interest of the area.

Office numbers for Almond and Kamenetz were listed at the bottom of the flyer, which was e-mailed to Patch by a resident.

Glazer denied Kimco was passing out , but said he was pleased that someone else appeared to agree with him.

"The last thing I want is for this to be a white elephant," Glazer said.

Jeffrey Freedman December 27, 2011 at 05:47 AM
@Alex--So then, it sounds to you like, even if the rezoning takes place at Solo, and they are afraid of potential failure in the mall redevelopment, the project will still take place? It sounds like they would be taking a big risk (even in their opinion).
ddbs00 December 27, 2011 at 11:34 AM
I'm generally neutral about redevelopment of the mall but kind of think its 25 year run was pretty good one and it wouldn't be a bad idea to try something new in that space. Good luck though. Maybe you can see if the people behind the water tower fight can join in. They seem to know how to get the local pols on their side.
Alexander Pyles December 27, 2011 at 04:46 PM
It did not appear they had any interest in pulling the plug, Jeffrey, either now or later. They've already invested a great deal of time, energy and money into the project. At this point, I wouldn't expect their plans to change.
Momofmany December 27, 2011 at 09:22 PM
Does anyone get it! All of these recent deals were nothing but political "grandstanding!" Read the "fine print" Kimco has second thouhgts, Wegman's wont even start building for two years (A lot can happen beyond the photos and handshakes in this economy?) Why not a comprehensive "master planning" process as has been done successfully in communities like Dundalk, Essex and Catonsville! The entire Owings Mills/Reisterstown area is a huge economic market. Those of us who live here shop more in Hunt Valley, Towson and even White Marsh than in our backyard. Once planners determine "WHY" and act upon it then you will have successful retail and economic viability. Let's drop the politics and create quality projects that can co-exist with others and most importantly serve the citizens with quality retail, adequate parking and most importantly security and the ability to walk freely without the fear of robbery, rape and murder!
Jeffrey Freedman December 27, 2011 at 09:44 PM
@Alex--I appreciate you sharing the information that you have. It sounds very credible. I guess we will have to see how this project takes shape in the future. @ddbs00--It would be nice to get those people on our side, but due to the fact that no rezoning needs to take place, I'm not sure there is a whole lot the politicans can do about it now. Apparently GGP and Kimco both have free reign as to what happens. @Momofmany--I completely agree that a lot of this must have been politically motivated and was pushed for in the best interests of politicans. All of the planning should be done together, as you stated. AND the community should be involved in deciding what takes place so that they will much more likely support all of these projects.


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