A 148,000-square-foot Costco warehouse store will anchor a new development at the former Owings Mills Mall site. (Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun video)
The former Owings Mills Mall site will be redeveloped as an outdoor shopping center called Mill Station, a $108 million project to be anchored by a new Costco warehouse store.
The project’s announcement Tuesday alleviates uncertainty in the community about the demolished mall, which closed in 2015.
“We finally got something done here,” County Executive Kevin Kamenetz told a crowd gathered Tuesday at the development site off Interstate 795.
Kimco Realty Corp., the property’s owner, plans to start construction early next year on Mill Station, which should be completed by early 2019.
A 148,000-square-foot Costco, the retailer’s fifth Baltimore-area location, will anchor the 575,000-square-foot Mill Station, which will also feature up to 30 other retailers and restaurants. Plans also call for extensive renovations to the existing AMC Theatre.
More tenants will be announced in the first quarter of 2018, said Tom Simmons, president of Kimco's Mid-Atlantic region. Officials declined to say what other retailers were negotiating to lease space, but Kamenetz said they would be “new to the area and places that we like to shop.”
Many malls and large retail centers have seen a decline as shopping patterns shifted toward online sales.
But Simmons said Kimco’s investment at Mills Station “reinforces the reality that brick-and-mortar retailers are growing alongside the internet by providing a complementary mixture of goods and services.”
Movement at the former mall site addresses a vexing issue for Kamenetz, who took office in 2010 and has announced his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018.
He said that in northwest Baltimore County, “the No. 1 question for the past seven years has been, ‘What’s going on with the mall?’”
Back in 2011, when most of the mall was vacant, Kimco and General Growth Properties announced plans to “de-mall” the property and redevelop it. Those plans stalled, and Kimco later gained sole control of the site.
Standing in front of heavy equipment and a rendering of Mill Station, Kamenentz said Coscto was “a needed amenity for this region.”
Councilman Julian Jones, a Democrat whose district includes Owings Mills, said he was pleased the project drew an anchor with a good reputation.
“Costco pays their employees a decent salary with benefits, and those things are extremely important to me,” Jones said.
Last year, Jones held community meetings amid rumors that Walmart would anchor the former mall property — something he said constituents did not want.
Mark Stewart, president of the Reisterstown-Owings Mills-Glyndon Coordinating Council, said there was “an anti-Walmart fever” in the area. People were concerned because there are already two other Walmarts nearby, he said.
Jones and Kamenetz said they are hopeful Mill Station will complement other projects in Owings Mills — the Wegmans-anchored Foundry Row on Reisterstown Road and the Metro Centre, a transit-oriented development that includes apartments, restaurants, a library and a satellite campus of the Community College of Baltimore County.
Shoppers already have access to two other membership-basedwarehouse stores nearby — a B.J.’s Wholesale Club and a Sam’s Club.
Mark Millman, president and CEO of Millman Search Group, a retail consulting and executive search firm based in the area, said he believes Costco “can more than hold its own.”
“They draw a huge crowd [and] very loyal customers,” he said. “It should help elevate the quality of the type of center that Kimco is trying to establish.”
The store fills a gap for Costco, which has stores in Elkridge, Glen Burnie, Hanover and White Marsh, but none to the northwest of Baltimore.
New Town resident Michele Daniels said she prefers Costco over other warehouse stores and travels to Elkridge to shop there. She also is excited about upgrades to the movie theater, as she often goes elsewhere for entertainment.
The shuttered mall was a source of frustration for people who live nearby, she said.