Developer envisions a town center at Woodlawn's Security Square Mall property

Developer envisions a town center at Woodlawn's Security Square Mall property

An Owings Mills developer believes he can turn Security Square Mall in Woodlawn into a revitalized town center which would include office, retail, hotel and residential space.

Howard S. Brown, CEO and president of David S. Brown Enterprises, outlined his vision Wednesday night at a community meeting coordinated by County Councilman Tom Quirk and the Security Woodlawn Business Association.

Brown said the idea of solely smaller retail and big-box stores in one area is no longer viable. His idea of a town center, which would include large stores, smaller retail shops and restaurants, would bring more people together, he said.

"As in most malls, it's time [for it] to be scrapped and it's time to come up with a new concept," he said.

He said a redeveloped mall, near Interstates 695 and 70, would have no competition.

"You don't have anything in this area," he said. "You have suburban apartments, you have retail strips but you don't have an urban center which encompasses all of it."

Ownership of mall properties is divided among several entities, Quirk said. Mall management could not be immediately reached.

Security Wards LLC, a real estate investment group led by Michael Glick, bought what was a Montgomery Ward department store 16 years ago, Glick said, and redeveloped the parcel to contain retail and trade stores. Glick has partnered with Brown for further potential redevelopment.

Brown said he is negotiations with shop owners with the hopes of acquiring acquire additional parcels before coming up with designs.

David Karceski, a land use attorney representing the developers, said the area is zoned to accommodate the town center concept.

"We want an expeditious path for approval," he said. "One that will bring upgrades to community as quickly as possible."

David S. Brown Enterprises has developed several mixed-use spaces in Baltimore County, including the 7 million-square-foot Metro Centre at Owings Mills, which includes a mix of offices, retail space, 1,700 residential units, parking for 5,000 cars and a building that houses the Owings Mills branch of the Baltimore County Public Library and lab and classrooms for the Community College of Baltimore County.

The developer also built Lansdowne Station, a mixed-use development on Washington Boulevard in Lansdowne that is home to a Walmart, a Petco pet supplies store, offices and several casual dining options.

Marisol Johnson, president of the Security Woodlawn Business Association, said the area deserves a robust, diverse and up-to-date retail system.

"They want the developers to be kind of held accountable," she said. "They're going to bring retail, bring something that's going to benefit the community, too."

Concerns from the community included whether there would be a community center — a resident said it's "something the area is crying out for" — that provides resources for children and adults to be active. Brown said a public component would be part of the center.

"What you're looking at is an urban redevelopment as if it was downtown Baltimore City, located in Baltimore County," he said.

Quirk, whose district includes the mall, said community members should have faith and optimism for the redevelopment, saying "our best days are just beginning."

"This is not 'if' or 'maybe.' This is happening," he said. "We have a huge investor and what we need to happen is we need the bigger fish to swallow some of the smaller fish because when you try to get five owners to agree on anything, it's very difficult. It's like herding stray cats."

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