Laurel city officials and developers cut the ribbon Saturday on Towne Centre Laurel -- a $130-million, 400,000-square-foot development on Route 1 at the site of the former Laurel mall. (Luke Lavoie/Laurel Leader video)
Laurel city officials and developers cut the ribbon Saturday on Towne Centre Laurel -- a $130-million, 400,000-square-foot development on Route 1 at the site of the former Laurel mall.
The opening of the development is a milestone for the community, which has waited for a redevelopment of the former mall site since 2006.
The development's key tenants are Burlington Coat Factory, which was the first store to open in April; a Regal Cinema, which is scheduled to officially open Nov. 20; a Sports Authority; an Old Navy; and a Harris Teeter, the first in Prince George's County.
The project is being developed by Maryland-based developer Greenberg Gibbons. It is expected to bring 22,000 jobs to the city.
On Saturday, city officials and the developers held a groundbreaking ceremony.
"The Towne Centre at Laurel redevelopment is a vibrant mixed-use town center, and I see many positive effects on the city because of it," Laurel Mayor Craig Moe said. "By revitalizing this property, it signals a major rebirth of Laurel's city center."
Moe added: "I'm very happy to be part of the celebration tonight; the Laurel community deserves it."
While the project has been christened, it is not yet fully open.
Tom Fitzpatrick, president of Greenberg Gibbons, said it is 85 percent leased and 70 percent open. He said they are still under construction on two buildings and expect the project to be complete in spring of 2015.
Fitzpatrick said the new open-air style center, which includes streetscapes and storefronts, is a more viable design than an enclosed mall.
"It's already a premier location, it was just a retail format that wasn't relevant in the marketplace," he said. "What we’ve created is so much more current with what people want today."
Although the official grand opening isn't until Thursday, Regal Towne Centre cinema will be showing movies through Nov. 18 with proceeds to benefit local charities. Tickets for the charity films are $3 each; small popcorn and small soft drink are also $3 a piece, with those proceeds going to charity as well.