New Restaurants, Stores For Mall Redevelopment

A representative for the Mall in Columbia developer said the planned outdoor addition to the mall has a 'tremendous amount of interest' from retailers.


Representatives from General Growth Properties said the redevelopment of the Mall in Columbia will create a new outdoor experience, filled with outdoor seating for new restaurants, new stores and a pedestrian connection to the Lakefront and the new Warfield area developments.

However, they did not say who would be moving into the during a presentation Tuesday night at .

"At this point we have a tremendous amount of interest from retailers," said Jim Whitcome, senior development director for GGP. "But until we complete negotiations, I can't let you know who they are."

What restaurants do you think should come to the Mall in Columbia? Tell us in comments.

A digital rendering shown during the presentation showed three new buildings being built where the L.L. Bean store and an auxillary parking lot currently sits. In between the buildings would be two pathways. The main pathway would extend from the existing fountain plaza in front of L.L. Bean to a new entrance to the mall. A secondary pathway would extend from the Nordstrom deck parking lot and intersect perpendicularly with the main pathway.

"We envision restaurants with outdoor seating... leading you into the heart of the project," said Gordon Godat, the design architect working with GGP to design the buildings.

Godat said the buildings would vary in size to make it seem like they evolved over time, and warm colors would be used to relate with the surrounding landscape. Planned landscaping includes mature shade trees as well as native species situated in rainwater planters, according to Godat.

With new stores coming in and an auxillary parking lot to be removed, multiple residents questioned developers about whether there was adequate parking.

"We don't anticipate adding additional parking to the mall," said Whitcome.

Whitcome said the impetus for the plan came from L.L. Bean's request to downsize its store. He said the Downtown Columbia master plan had directed developers to make a connection to the Lakefront, but that the L.L. Bean store was blocking their ability to do so.

"All of a sudden the roadblock comes to us and says we don't want to be there," said Whitcome.

"The downsizing is part of our global operations," said L.L. Bean store manager Tom Metzger, who was at the meeting.

Metzger said L.L. Bean was currently in negotiations with the mall about finding a new spot for the outdoor clothing and equipment store, but that they were interested in staying in Columbia.

Whitcome said if the plan is approved, developers hope to start construction in January of 2013. If so, he said, they would likely be able to deliver spaces to tenants by August of 2013. He said some retail tenants take 30 days to move in, some 60, and that restaurants tend to take around 180 days before they open.

Besides parking questions, there appeared to be little problems with the plan GGP presented during the question and answer session with members of the public.

Ursula Kondo, who told the developers she had lived in Columbia for 32 years, said, "I really like your design, I think you've done a fantastic job."

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HoCoCommenter March 20, 2013 at 07:12 PM
Thank you!! Most people are just lazy. The time they take waiting around for a close spot, they could have found a further one and walked inside by then. Plus, some of those guilty of this behavior could really use the extra walk.
Alexis May 12, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Definetely they need to look to Annapolis mall for ideas on what stores to bring. A House of Hoops, Wet Seal, Charlotte Russe, TWO Story Forever 21, more accessory stores. They should ultimately look at Westfield malls, St.Towne Charles mall, and the FAMOUS Anne Arundel Mall for ideas
Alexis May 12, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Maybe Underground parking ?? Or just a taller parking structure because the one by Macys is DEFINITELY not getting the job done.
Jean Hendrick June 11, 2013 at 12:39 PM
I would love to see a Bob's Big Boy, Friendly's and Popeye's return to Columbia. I have missed all three since they left years ago.
Stephanie Gurwitz June 11, 2013 at 02:52 PM
Lebanese Taverna or at least one mediterranean option and a higher end Asian noodle place, a Korean restaurant - the only ones in the area are up on rt 40 - there is nothing in Columbia; a larger women's clothing store; how about a good specialty bookstore with seating area that could have authors and discussions, a place that could house LIVE MUSIC - could feature local jazz and folk artists - - oh, this is probably not a 'MALL' like experience but definitely things that are lacking


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