Laurel Mall news nothing to get excited about
So a grocery store (Harris Teeter) and Burlington Coat Factory (already here and completely empty) are the main attractions to a new open center look to replace the still-standing (parking decks and all) mall? ("Laurel Mall redevelopment scheduled to begin Aug. 14," Laurel Leader, Aug. 1). Oh, I forgot, and Regal Cinemas. We've been listening to promises of progress relating to the mall for years. The last report we heard was that the parking deck(s) were coming down in May, shortly after the "official" closure. Then, silence. So now we are supposed to be excited about an "invitation-only groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 14"? Does that mean things will start to happen in another five years?
Nobody is being held accountable for the endless delays. Bowing down and giving tax breaks to the owner has resulted in zero progress. Somebody is dropping the ball within the City Council, and pressure needs to be applied. A new, attractive, shopping area will be incredibly beneficial to Laurel because it will draw people that would otherwise travel to Columbia or Arundel Mills. But having a celebration about Harris Teeter, Burlington Coat Factory and Regal Cinemas is a joke.
It is beyond comprehension that the property where the now defunct mall sits cannot draw better commitments from national chains that used to call Laurel home. A deeper look may tell you that the taxes in Maryland have now made it detrimental to businesses that want to take a chance on a retail wasteland, and unfortunately, that's what Laurel has become. Somebody in charge needs to wake up. I'm tired of driving extra distances when we have a wonderful opportunity to put businesses in Laurel.
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