Greater Greater Washington

Retailers are embracing urbanism with zeal

As enclosed malls continue to decline and close, more and more retailers are opting to locate in pedestrian-friendly urban districts.


Photo by NCinDC on Flickr.

3 years ago, I expressed sentiments that the car-oriented shopping mall was a business model with no future. The events since have offered further proof that retailers and customers now prefer an urban format, at least in our region.

Recent news that Bloomingdale's in White Flint and Macy's in Laurel will close has little to do with the sales performance of those stores, and everything to do with their host malls being unable to survive. Both have been visibly declining for years, and will soon be redeveloped into mixed-use walkable urban places.

The Laurel Macy's has managed to remain open for years despite much of its host mall being shuttered. That store would likely have closed years ago if it wasn't making money, especially in the wake of the Great Recession.

Similarly, if it had not been profitable the White Flint Bloomingdale's would have closed in 2007 when another location of the luxury retailer opened a mere 3 Metro stations away.

Within the Favored Quarter, the most economically competitive and healthy part of our region, only the largest and most dynamic enclosed malls are continuing to thrive. The rest are slowly dying.

In Maryland, Montgomery Mall is the most vibrant, while in Virginia the Tysons cluster reigns supreme.

When the White Flint redevelopment plan was approved in 2010, it provided the owners of White Flint Mall the opportunity to earn a healthier profit by giving the market more of what it wants: walkable urbanism.

Elsewhere in the region the malls are doing as bad or worse. Most have either closed or are in the process of being converted to walkable town centers.

Arlington has had success turning the area around its two enclosed malls into mixed-use towns, first at Ballston and now at Pentagon City, where the process is still under way.

In Fairfax, Springfield Mall is slated for redevelopment, and Fair Oaks Mall is actively considering a mixed-use future.

In Prince George's County, the area around the Mall at Prince George's (formerly Prince George's Plaza) has been undergoing a process similar to Pentagon City. At Bowie Town Center, County officials are looking at adding more entertainment and housing options.

Meanwhile, urban shopping areas that I mentioned three years ago have increased in prominence:

In the District of Columbia, there are four shopping districts that support clusters of national retail chains that are usually mall-based: Downtown (Old Downtown clustered around Metro Center), Connecticut Avenue between Farragut Square and Dupont Circle, Friendship Heights, and Georgetown. Columbia Heights is emerging and has a different mix of retailers.
Urban-format suburban shopping districts also continue to thrive and grow.

Silver Spring's retail is more vibrant than ever. The space vacated by Borders was quickly filled by Smart Toys. Bethesda and Clarendon are continually adding to their mixture of chains and smaller upscale retailers. Wheaton is a work in progress.

Even outside the Beltway, urbanism is catching on. Rockville Town Square and Gaithersburg's Washingtonian Center are growing, and National Harbor is setting the standard for Prince George's County. Two decades ago, all those developments likely would have been enclosed malls.

While purely car-dependent malls aren't going to go completely extinct, they are becoming far more rare. In the future, it is likely the only enclosed malls that remain will be the largest super-regional "winners" inside the Favored Quarter. Meanwhile, no new malls are planned.

As the 21st Century continues, both living and dead mall sites will be either be completely redeveloped or will evolve into mixed-use walkable urban places. Retailers will continue clustering at transit-oriented, walkable urban locations, both downtown and at new suburban "uptowns."

Cavan Wilk became interested in the physical layout and economic systems of modern human settlements while working on his Master's in Financial Economics. His writing often focuses on the interactions between a place's form, its economic systems, and the experiences of those who live in them. He lives in downtown Silver Spring. 

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I was impressed with the stores around Metro Center. The Forever 21 is awe-inspiring and people don't believe me when I tell them how big it is.

Now that I live a couple blocks from the ballston mall I'll say they've done a good job repositioning themselves as much as they can with adding the ice rink and apartments on top. Moreover the restaurants do a good job engaging the street and really making the part that fronts Wilson really nice. And then the inside has a good mix of stores that at least cater to the people that live there if they aren't the flashiest of retail enterprises.

by Canaan on Jan 18, 2012 1:49 pm • linkreport

What about the mall in Wheaton? You don't really address that directly (it's not really a part of the "work in progress" article).

I remember the mall from when I lived there in 2000, and I would say it's doing as well, if not better, now than it was then.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Jan 18, 2012 1:54 pm • linkreport

You can't extrapolate a rule here. White Flint is dying because 355 is a hassle to drive these days, and because the mall simply isn't big enough. Rather than being indicative of a trend towards walkable urban centers, it show that the malls that survive are the ones with more space and more accessible to cars, like Tysons and Montgomery Mall. These malls have many more shops and dining options and so become more of a destination for locals and those coming from more distant locations. Transit-oriented shopping can work, but really urbanized shopping works because of a critical mass of locals who can and will walk the area. Like in Bethesda. That is likely to happen in White Flint, which makes that property an attractive place to redevelop and re-purpose -- but it won't happen because there are far greater riches. The reality is that White Flint is failing, regardless of your take on Bloomingdale's. All you have to do is go inside the mall and you will be stunned at how empty it can be. Bloomingdale's may be a strong draw for determined, wealthy shoppers, but the mall lacks from having those younger folks who just hang out in the mall. That'shhwy it will die.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jan 18, 2012 1:57 pm • linkreport

To me the greatest example of this is Georgetown mall on M St -- that mall is desolate, except the DMV -- but the walkable outside stores are always bustling.

by scott on Jan 18, 2012 1:59 pm • linkreport

Geoffrey, Wheaton is a work in progress because the new Sector Plan is just starting to come into focus. The Lerners were adamant about keeping White Flint Mall open as the whole area changed around it until a little over a month ago. This was after years of discussions about the new White Flint area.

Westfield just might do the same. Maybe they will announce redeveloping the mall 18 months after the new sector plan is passed. Maybe they'll announce plans to evolve it to work with the new Wheaton two years after the new residents all start to move in. Your guess is as good as mine. I didn't have any evidence either way when I wrote the piece to I didn't comment in much detail.

by Cavan on Jan 18, 2012 2:01 pm • linkreport

@scott:

To me the greatest example of this is Georgetown mall on M St -- that mall is desolate, except the DMV -- but the walkable outside stores are always bustling.

I was going to offer this as a counter-example to @Fischy. Really the only "old skool" mega-malls that can survive are the ones that exist in areas where people have no other options. In Rockville, you can go to Bethesda. In Georgetown, you can be out on the street, or one of a number of places in town that are vibrant and integrate with the street.

Tysons Galleria? Sure it may be depressing as Hell, but it's less depressing than being on the streets outside, and besides, where else are you going to go?

by oboe on Jan 18, 2012 2:21 pm • linkreport

I'd also like to insert a plug for the City of Frederick's draft plan for redeveloping their 1970's era shopping corridor and dead mall. It's a an early effort and it will take a lot more work to get the property owners on board, but it fits in with the broader trends seen elsewhere in the region.

http://cityoffrederick.com/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1143

by Brian D on Jan 18, 2012 2:35 pm • linkreport

Good post, but I'd suggest that retailers aren't so much embracing urbanism as developers are, who in turn have to make a case for retailers. For instance, most of the Walmarts planned for the region with the exception of the ones in Tysons and on New Jersey Avenue in DC will be typical one-story boxes with parking lots out front. We haven't seen another urban-format Target since the one in Columbia Heights (though the one near Twinbrook Metro isn't terrible.)

And even if enclosed malls aren't being built anymore, there are still large "lifestyle centers" being built in the outer suburbs, places like Stonebridge in Woodbridge and One Loudoun in Ashburn (home to the "Alamo DC" everyone's all butthurt about.)

That's not to say there isn't a trend towards urbanism, but I'm not sure if this huge shift that Chris Leinberger or Richard Florida predict has occurred yet.

@Cavan, Geoffrey

$140m was spent renovating Wheaton Plaza in 2005 and Costco is going to be built soon. Westfield has said they intend for that to remain a mall for a long time, so I doubt they're going to be turning it into a town center anytime soon. As a result, the county's focusing on the rest of downtown Wheaton, which makes sense. In the meantime, it might be nice to improve pedestrian connections to coax some shoppers out from the mall and into the neighborhood (and vice versa).

by dan reed! on Jan 18, 2012 2:47 pm • linkreport

Exception to rule: Pentagon City. It may be the ninth circle of hell but it's always bursting at the seams.

by Catherine on Jan 18, 2012 3:01 pm • linkreport

I like up the red line where they have the Mazza Gallerie and you can walk past Dior, Gucci, LV etc etc right on the street like you can in Beverly Hills. They need a Prada though.

by eneyoga on Jan 18, 2012 3:08 pm • linkreport

@ dan reed - Im pretty sure that developers are responding to the market for their space, which is driven by retailers. Walmart and Target have different business models - though I would agree that the decline of the enclosed mall is not necessarily due to favoring of urbanism, but do to shifts to big box, internet shopping etc. OTOH I think many of the lifestyle centers have strong urbanist elements - walking out doors, griddy layouts, mixed use, etc. Some integrate better with neighboring areas than others. Of course they are still "mallish" in that they are run a common owner, with mall type rules on store hours, etc and often have lots of chain stores. Im not sure thats "unurbanist" though, unless urbanist is defined to mean the kinds of stuff liked by followers of Jane Jacobs.

by AwalkerintheCity on Jan 18, 2012 3:10 pm • linkreport

@Dan Reed
Yes but at least those lifestyle centers can be better retrofitted for better walkability/access much moreso than a fully interior mall. I don't know if you've been to fairfax corner but there is a lot of parking lots that could easily be converted to mixed used buildings and add more to the streetscape that is there without tearing down anything but the parking lot.

by Canaan on Jan 18, 2012 3:13 pm • linkreport

I think you all are leaving out that retailing in general is really tough these days. People prefer to shop online because Amazon.com and the like don't have to pay taxes in most places while retailers can. I think urbanism is definitely a driving factor in the slow decline of the big sprawling mall, but the changes to the retail industry as a whole also play a large role.

by Cassidy on Jan 18, 2012 3:30 pm • linkreport

@dan reed!: I believe the Brightwood Wal-Mart @ Georgia & Missouri NW (Curtis Chevy) is going to have underground parking.

@Cavan: Smart Toys in Silver Spring is not a fair example. That is a seasonal store that has opened up around Halloween as a costume store, then transitioned into a toy/gift store for the holidays for the last few years. In years past it was in the space now occupied by Nando's Peri-Peri.

by jmc on Jan 18, 2012 3:33 pm • linkreport

I'm not saying that it's not going to happen. I'm just saying that it may come slower than we think. Moving to urbanism isn't just about underground parking or bringing buildings up to the sidewalk - it's about a larger change in the way we live, how we use and distribute public space, and most importantly (as it relates to retail) how goods are transported. And as long as consumer goods are transported to stores by big trucks (and transported from stores by car) there's always going to be some pressure to accommodate automobiles. Take Fairfax Corner, for instance. It's served by highways. The stores get their deliveries from big trucks that come down I-66. You can increase the density and have all the sidewalks you want, but it's still a place dependent on the automobile. And that is a form of urbanism (not every place can or will be served by transit) but I'm not sure if it's the one Cavan is advocating in this article.

Not that we can't bring goods to market in little vans (like in Europe) or by train, or we can't take our groceries home by bike or foot (I do), but these are larger structural changes that make urbanism more difficult to produce.

Of course, the Internet changes all of this. I wonder how much retail space (in any format, urban or suburban) we'll need when we order everything through Amazon. Presumably that's a good thing for urbanism, since we won't need a car to drive to Target and carry home 18 rolls of toilet paper, as I did last week.

by dan reed! on Jan 18, 2012 3:41 pm • linkreport

@dan reed
But fairfax corner I think will fare better with its repositioning than Fair Oaks visible across 66. And I think its a net good that most newer developments are starting to realize this and incorporating more of these design elements that accentuate a more urban form. It's unfortunate that its a considered a victory to celebrate incremental changes but I think it does lend more credence to Cavan's point rather than take away.

by Canaan on Jan 18, 2012 3:46 pm • linkreport

Exception to rule: Pentagon City. It may be the ninth circle of hell but it's always bursting at the seams.

Umm, being on a major Metro line and having it's own station helps just a tad.

Now that I live a couple blocks from the ballston mall I'll say they've done a good job repositioning themselves as much as they can with adding the ice rink and apartments on top.

Wow? really? Cause I find it to be a horrible mall that has had tremendous difficulty attracting a strong following and is absolutely neglecting the thousands of residents who live within a few blocks of its doors. Get rid of the 2nd Macy's furniture store, switch it for a Target, add a Best Buy and at least 3 or 4 other urban stores that are thriving elsewhere. It has a long way to go to replicate the success of the Columbia Heights project or even Bethesda Row or Rockville Town Center. The parking garage is a nightmare as well..get rid of it---it's a stone's throw from a major metro station.

Or better yet, tear it down and repurpose it as a whole new wing of the mall with underground parking.

by LuvDusty on Jan 18, 2012 3:48 pm • linkreport

dan reed made the point I was gonna, about developers vs. retailers. And it's not all developers, just some.

But there is no question that the "lifestyle center" has succeeded the mall as a format. At the same time, the best malls aren't necessarily dead, witness the just announced expansion/redev. of part of Montgomery Mall, and the general success of Tysons Corner Center.

- http://bettercities.net/article/qa-robert-gibbs-downcast-state-retail

Cavan could have mentioned Friendship Heights too, as an example of a traditional mall not doing too well. At the same time over the general area, including both DC and MD, it acts like a lifestyle center.

Luv Dusty makes some interesting points about Ballston that are relevant to Friendship Heights. At the same time, mall owners don't have the kind of flexibility you think. First, certain types of retailers don't traditionally function in "malls" like Best Buy. Second, the department store "pad" sites are traditionally owned by the department store, not the mall developer (note that Ballston, as Parkington, was developed first by Hechts).

Re jmc's point, structured parking, either under or above ground, doesn't make a big box store necessarily urban. It's about urban design and how the store is integrated into the broader environment.

by Richard Layman on Jan 18, 2012 3:57 pm • linkreport

"And as long as consumer goods are transported to stores by big trucks (and transported from stores by car) there's always going to be some pressure to accommodate automobiles."

I dont see that SOME pressure to accommodate the automobile contradicts urbanism. Urbanism to me is about making sure all modes are accommodated, and that the auto is not accommodated in such a way as to do major harm to other modes.

In many dense urban areas in the USA delivery to retailers is by truck even where the consumer accesses the store by foot/transit. Small vans may make that easier than full size trucks, but I dont think the failure to use small vans is insurmountable.

Delivery to retailers by rail is pretty much unknown in europe AFAIK - Im not sure if its ever done in the USA - and is not realistic. The trend in rail deliveries of goods (other than bulk products like coal) to factories is intermodalism - a trailer or container on flat car, with the final mile(s) by truck on highways/roads.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 18, 2012 3:58 pm • linkreport

@luvdusty,

That would be nice as well, but my point was rather that short of a tear-down its done a pretty good job of trying to adapt to the neighborhood and come into its own rather (Particularly the restaurants but the CVS, payless, and its nice to be able to go by macy's and see if there is a sale on dress shirts, I'd probably agree about the furniture dept. though) than ending up like the georgetown mall (which may end up happening regardless but for the moment it hasn't).

TL;DR So while its not a success it has avoided becoming a failure by adding urban elements where it can.

by Canaan on Jan 18, 2012 3:59 pm • linkreport

I agree that customers are demanding outdoor malls these days, not indoor ones. But, outdoor malls aren't necessarily less car oriented unless they're mixed use or close to transit. Everyone still drives there, there just isn't a roof.

That said, there is no doubt that the indoor mall is on the way out. The stats don't lie: only two have been built in the entire country since 2009. Also, people who know the mall industry like the Lerners acknowledge that the times are a changin'.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/main-street-making-a-comeback-at-the-expense-of-the-shopping-mall/2011/11/18/gIQAfnEhfN_story.html

by Falls Church on Jan 18, 2012 4:03 pm • linkreport

Richard, I mentioned Friendship Heights as an urban shopping district, not as a mall. It's a mixed-use shopping area that has a street grid and is well-served by transit. It does have two small malls but they're not analagous to a standalone car-oriented mall. While Mazza Galeria was intended as being a place to drive to, it has clearly evolved to engage the street with multiple sidewalk entrances and engaging store windows. Everything in Friendship Heights is a comfortable and convenient walk for pedestrians. I've done it many times.

I did specifically say exactly what you said about Tysons and Montgomery Mall. They're the single "winners" on their respective sides of the Favored Quarter.

I see the lifestyle center (fake main street) as similar to the earliest strip malls that had little parking out front and still depended more on foot traffic. They're a transitional form as the more cautious landowners have a hard time embracing full urbanism but get that the old ways just aren't working any more.

by Cavan on Jan 18, 2012 4:07 pm • linkreport

WRT Ballston Mall: it's a slightly more upscale version of ShittyCity Place. Residents of Ballston and Silver Spring would probably like to see something totally different in those spots.

by Falls Church on Jan 18, 2012 4:08 pm • linkreport

Falls Church, I'll second what you say about Silver Spring residents wanting something better on the decaying and ignored mall at the corner of Fenton St. and Colesville Road.

by Cavan on Jan 18, 2012 4:15 pm • linkreport

Last time I was in City Place, it was clean and well-kept, if not hopping, and there are still a fair number of stores in there. Some people in Silver Spring complain that there's "nothing there" and "nobody goes there," but in fact, the mall continues to do business, but their customers are lower-income and the stores cater to them.

That's not to say it can't be improved. (I'm writing a post on the latest plans to redevelop City Place as we speak.) But I wouldn't call City Place "decaying and ignored." "Underutilized" might be more accurate.

by dan reed! on Jan 18, 2012 4:26 pm • linkreport

As long as there's weather there will be enclosed malls.

by JJJJJ on Jan 18, 2012 5:35 pm • linkreport

"Even outside the Beltway, urbanism is catching on. Rockville Town Square ...[is] growing .... Two decades ago, all those developments likely would have been enclosed malls."

I don't dispute your point, but your timing is off, WRT to Rockville. Two decades ago downtown Rockville was an enclosed mall which had failed miserably - even direct Metro access (and various renovations) couldn't save it. The restored urbanism in central Rockville had already begun two decades ago but it has taken time for the markets to develop and bring back what had been eliminated by the construction of the mall in the first place.

If anything, the progression in Rockville - urban fabric, destroyed for car-oriented mall, followed by failed mall destroyed in favor of the return of urban fabric - illustrates your point; it just hapened earlier than you posit.

by ZZinDC on Jan 18, 2012 6:15 pm • linkreport

urbanism?

What's wrong with "cities?"

Good ole words.

by Jazzy on Jan 18, 2012 7:08 pm • linkreport

What's wrong with "cities?"

Because, suburban areas outside of cities are "urbanizing" too. Sometimes it's difficult to speak accurately without jargon....

by oboe on Jan 18, 2012 7:25 pm • linkreport

The writing has been on the wall for malls for a long time. A dozen new malls opened every year in the 1980s and early 1990s, slowing to half a dozen through the 1990s and then fewer than one a year for the past decade (all in the first half of the decade, of course). The current real estate shakeout is resulting in a considerable "flight to quality," where the best locations -- those with a critical mass of retailers for cross-shopping -- are holding their own while secondary locations decline. Power centers and discounters used to thrive on selection and price, but online shopping has undone those advantages.

Put it all together and you get a hollowing out of the retail market: super-regional centers offer enough variety in one place to compete, and neighborhood retail centers still offer convenience, but everything in between is endangered unless they can zero in on a particular demographic niche or offer distinctive entertainment choices.

by Payton on Jan 18, 2012 9:12 pm • linkreport

Also, I side with cavan instead of dan reed on who the agent is here: developers don't drive decision-making as much as the public thinks. Lenders and occupants (tenants/buyers) really determine what gets built; developers are just the guys who build it.

Granted, sometimes people don't know what they want until it's been built, but pre-leasing requirements make that all but impossible these days.

by Payton on Jan 18, 2012 9:21 pm • linkreport

@Payton

You're proving my point. Developers aren't driving the decision-making. They argue there's a demand for urbanism, and try to respond to it, but run up against retailers who want lots of parking, need to accommodate big truck deliveries, etc. And what gets built is what will attract retail tenants, hence auto-centric developments like National Harbor or Fairfax Corner, or most of the anti-urban Walmarts.

by dan reed! on Jan 18, 2012 10:32 pm • linkreport

I don't really understand the comment about Bowie. The proposed stadium (described in the link for "entertainment") is about a mile and a half from Bowie Town Center.

by Jon on Jan 18, 2012 10:50 pm • linkreport

It's doubtful that lifestyle centers are "transitional". They probably exist, in part, because developers saw that old strips like Congressional Plaza were easier to repurpose than malls. Strips that got unsuccessfully malled like Ballston are good comparitors to places like Congressional; however, lifestyle format often are located in carbound places that are destined to remain so--like Kentlands, which depends on shoppers from beyond the nearby "new town". I would imagine that the owners of PG Plaza and Wheaton Plaza would have considered demalling if they were planning their recent renovations now, but they both would still rely on drivers for most of their business.

The embrace of urbanism is mostly in places that are "urban" to begin with (Columbia Heights), old market town centers (Bethesda, Silver Spring and maybe Rockville) which were built at relatively urban densities or places built on a streetcar strip base like Clarendon. A repurposed White Flint will still draw from the wide area that feeds the Pike no matter how many high rises are built. At best, Tysons will take decades to evolve, in part because of the mix of small and large land owners and the odd locations of vacant land.

by Rich on Jan 19, 2012 12:01 am • linkreport

@Rich, Ballston is not "a strip that got unsuccessfully malled". The shopping center, previously named "Parkington", was built in 1951, long before most of the development in the area.

by Frank IBC on Jan 19, 2012 12:31 am • linkreport

Bowie Town Center is "faux urbanism". It's really a suburban shopping mall turned inside-out so people walk a little from their cars in the surrounding parking lagoons to the shops on the outside rather than on the inside. Same thing, different coat of paint. It's still an auto dependent hell as are most "Towne Centers" including Annapolis Towne Center at Parole - a hailed smart growth project that, while including the residential piece has virtually ZERO options for getting in an out other than via car. It is extremely unpleasant to walk or bike outside the island and there is NO public transportation.

by Alex Pline on Jan 19, 2012 6:12 am • linkreport

Is there any guarantee that the Laurel Macy's and White Flint Bloomingdales will reopen nce these neo-urbanist utopias are built?

Don't get me wrong. I rather like the town centers. But to call a recent spate of town center development a paradigm shift is a bit of a stretch. It's akin to thinking the development of some condos and apartments near the Navy Yard will soon make Ashburn or South Riding a ghost town.

by ceefer66 on Jan 19, 2012 10:20 am • linkreport

There is no proposal to open new stores at either location once they are re-developed, ceefer66. They're closing for good.

Federated is content to have the Bloomingdale's in Chevy Chase and the Macy's in Columbia.

by Frank IBC on Jan 19, 2012 10:31 am • linkreport

Frank, we have no idea what the future will hold for successors to those stores. I doubt that the parent company of Macy's and Bloomingdale's does at this time either. Macy's Inc. (formerly Federated) is in the business of renting retail space, not building it. I'm sure that they'll reassess the situation as retail space and new residences/customer bases mature. Maybe there will be successors to those stores and maybe there won't. Time will tell.

For all we know, they could be in talks with City Center DC to put a Bloomingdale's downtown as a successor. There was news about putting a store in Georgetown that fell through in 2008. We don't have evidence either way. The point I made is that any successor store will be in an urban format. The existing urban formats are increasing in prominence and vibrance while the car-dependent malls are being converted to some sort of urban format.

by Cavan on Jan 19, 2012 10:54 am • linkreport

@Cavan -

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that Federated is not considering opening any new locations. I'm sure they are.

But I don't see it happening at the current site of White Flint Mall any more than at the site of Landover Mall. Anything is possible - but I just don't think it's likely. More likely would be a new store in a better location up the Pike, closer to a Metro station or at least a major intersection like Montrose/Randolph.

by Frank IBC on Jan 19, 2012 12:01 pm • linkreport

First, certain types of retailers don't traditionally function in "malls" like Best Buy.

That model is changing for the retailers--recent articles have appeared all over the place about how Walmart, Target, Best Buy and other traditionally "big box" style stores are trying to adapt to Urban markets.

We should be looking at the Columbia Heights project as the main example, not Tysons or Pentagon City. The CoHe "mall" is for all intents and purposes an "indoor mall" that also is pedestrian accessible (and has a parking garage that is not usually full).

That mall contains a Target, a Best Buy, a Marshalls and a Bed Bath and Beyond and a Washington Sports Club as well as several other retailers and restaurants along the outside perimeter.

The Pentagon Row model is also another similar case, except that one does not have an indoor passageway among the various stores.

The CoHe model is the one I believe will be emulated in the future for Urban centers and it makes the most sense. It's indoors (mostly), right near a Metro stop (CoHe) and also has additional underground parking that connects.

My original point is that Ballston could convert to something similar and do quite well. Remember the last change to Tysons also eliminated outdoor parking in favor of a whole new "mixed use" part of the mall.

In CoHe right now there are several "mixed use" developments that are under construction...similar to the Urban Row that already exists. Those will also contain retail/restaurants in the bottom level as well as office space and residences/condos/apartments. This type of mixed use, I believe will be the prevailing look for DC and even the close in burbs (Arl, etc...)

by LuvDusty on Jan 19, 2012 12:50 pm • linkreport

Would be nice to Bloomie's - and possibly Nordstrom - at City Center DC.

I've seen the drawings and so far the project looks like everything else being built in DC - a bunch of look-alike glass, metal, and concrete buildings that are the same style and height as everything else. Nothing distinctive. Some upscale reatil would liven things up.

PS, the Captcha has gone from bad to worse to downright ridiculous. We're supposed to copy Hebrew characters now?

by ceefer66 on Jan 19, 2012 2:37 pm • linkreport

Correlation and causation. N

One could easily say those dying malls are doing so because they are old and rundown, or the lack of modern amenities.

Tysons Corner is auto centric and has been through how many renovations? At least 3, though I refuse to step foot in that thing because parking there is such a nightmare.

Tysons has a very interesting history however.

by TGEOA on Jan 19, 2012 9:04 pm • linkreport

I have read the entire commentating opinion, however it is safe to say that the ending of enclosing shopping malls is nothing more than a which hunt to sabotage business growth and economic growth in the State of Maryland...

The issue with getting rid of enclosed malls in Maryland while Virginia is continuing to expand their enclosed Malls is the FACT that it will entice more Maryland Tax Payers to drive across the River to the Old Dominion State of Virginia to satisfy their Upscale Retail needs...

One would also have to think about is without Upscale Retail Shopping Opportunities what person in their correct healthy state of Mind would want to waste their financial earnings to live in a so-called mixed use area of White Flint or any so-called mixed use designated areas of Maryland when they can better invest their financial earnings in a true Mixed Use areas of Virginia where Fairfax County/Loudon County/Arlington-Alexandria continues to Beat Out Montgomery County and Prince Georges County in High paying White Collar Professional Business/Job Growth.....

So all in a nut shell this is nothing but a desperate attempt to Further Reduce Population Growth in Maryland by denying the Opportunities for Expanding Upscale Retail Growth, Professional White Collar Business Growth, and Infrastructure Growth. I guess some are soo P'd off at the ICC that they are getting desperate to find ways to completely stop the Population increasing of Montgomery County and Prince Georges County...

by Steve on Jan 22, 2012 3:51 pm • linkreport

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