Macy's is closing its department store at Owings Mills Mall to clear the way for a makeover of the nearly 30-year-old shopping center.
The retailer has agreed to sell the store building to mall owner Kimco Realty, which is preparing to redevelop the property, a Macy's spokesman said Tuesday.
A final clearance sale started about a week ago and will run until mid-November, when the store will close, said Jim Sluzewski, senior vice president of corporate communications for Macy's Inc. The department store's 90 employees were notified of the closing and resulting layoffs on Sept. 9.
Macy's and JC Penney are the only remaining department store anchors at Owings Mills, built by The Rouse Co. in 1986 as an upscale center and one of the area's first regional malls. Once anchored by Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Boscov's and Sears, the center has struggled with the loss of anchors, high vacancies and competition from newer malls and open-air shopping center formats.
In May, Baltimore County approved updated plans for Kimco's redevelopment in advance of a large annual retail conference, where firms often go to court tenants.
The plans show Kimco inverting the site, with parking on the inside and new big-box retail stores and restaurants of various sizes on the outside, ranging from about 6,000 square feet to nearly 70,000 square feet. One option included a 12-story office building of about 300,000 square feet. The movie theater would remain under the new plans.
Kimco officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The company had been among several area developers that opposed the nearby Foundry Row retail project, which is under development and will have a Wegmans supermarket.
In 2011, Kimco formed a partnership with General Growth Properties, which owned the mall at the time, to "de-mall" the property by demolishing it and building an outdoor town center.
As of December, General Growth Properties owned 51 percent of the more than 1 million-square-foot mall, which was 34 percent leased at the time.
County officials have said they want to see the site redeveloped.
County Councilman Julian E. Jones Jr. said he has been impatient to see investment put back into the now-dead shopping mall. He is scheduled to meet with Kimco next week but did not have more information Tuesday.
"Something is happening that's for sure, and I always knew that … the first step would have to be acquiring the property," Jones said. "I am very eager to see something happen with that mall. That's what the community has been demanding and that's what they deserve."
After Macy's closes, the chain will operate 21 Macy's stores in Maryland, nine of them in the Baltimore area, including at Security Square in Woodlawn, Towson Town Center and the Mall in Columbia.
Sluzewski said the laid-off workers may be offered jobs in nearby stores, and eligible full- and part-time employees will be offered severance.
The closure is not related to Macy's announcement earlier this month that the company plans to close 35 to 40 underperforming department stores early next year.
"This is a 2015 closing related to an isolated real estate transaction," Sluzewski said.
The chain has not announced specific locations for the stores to be closed next year, which represent about 1 percent of Macy's sales, or about $300 million, the company said. The chain operates 770 Macy's stores nationally.
When Macy's announced the 2016 plans earlier this month, its CEO said physical stores remain vital to its strategy.
"As new shopping centers are opened, however, many customers change their shopping habits and often the sales volume of a store gets divided among the new and nearby, existing centers," Terry J. Lundgren, Macy's chairman and CEO, said in an announcement.