That way, "we'll be able to shop once again in our own backyards," Ditto said.
White Marsh and other malls."
With three development projects slated for the Owings Mills market, it's likely that developers would vie for the same tenants. But the projects benefit from strong support from county officials and timing — moving forward at a time when a lot of empty retail space has been absorbed in the last couple of years by retailers such as hhgregg and Petsmart.
"Developers are starting to put things on the books, for opening in 2013, 2014 and 2015 because supply has gone down," said Geoffrey L. Mackler, a principal at real estate brokerage H&R Retail. Despite Owings Mills mall's past struggles, the site remains a strong location, Mackler said.
"It does have great access to the population in Newtown, which is densely populated with young families and single people and access from Owings Mills Boulevard and 795," Mackler said. "If they're able to attract the best tenants there, they'll be able to draw from a larger area and can attract people in Carroll County" as well.
Mackler predicted that the center would be designed as a hybrid, with "big box" stores, the existing department stores and small shops, many of them service-oriented or eateries that would complement the anchors and the movie theater.
The project's $65 million price tag "shows that the area is still attractive for developers," said Glenn Barnes, president of the Reisterstown Improvement Association.
"Everybody should feel a whole lot more positive about being in the area," he said. "If you have a strong, vibrant community from the commercial standpoint, it makes it more attractive for the people who want to buy homes."
Stevenson University, where enrollment has more than doubled over the past decade, is also in Owings Mills, and officials there are excited about the mall project, said Steve Close, the school's vice president for university advancement.
'It's going to be a wonderful amenity for our students and parents and alumni and friends who come to visit," he said.
General Growth is based in Chicago. Kimco is headquartered in New York but has regional offices in Lutherville-Timonium.
General Growth, which emerged from bankruptcy protection last year, also owns Harborplace and The Gallery in downtown Baltimore as well as The Mall in Columbia, Mondawmin Mall, Towson Town Center and White Marsh Mall.
Through September this year, the company had added 17 big-box anchor stores to its regional malls across the country and said it expected that number to grow to 28 anchors by the end of the year, with stores such as Crate and Barrel, Nordstrom Rack, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Cabela's, Kohl's, hhgregg, LL Bean and Ulta.