General Growth is planning a $70 million renovation to one of America's first suburban shopping malls in a big city.
Mondawmin Mall opened in 1956 in Northwest Baltimore to a rapidly changing Baltimore both racially and economically. Mondawmin Mall mimicked suburbia almost from the get go with surface level parking spaces and wide pedestrian unfriendly roads that seperate the mall from the communities it serves. Sears was the mall's only anchor. Like I said earlier Urban America was begining to crumble and in 1973 Sears closed its doors. Whether the Sears space was demolished or turned into additional mall space I have no idea but that was a big blow for Mondawmin and the communities it serves. Rouse did a modest renovation to the mall in 1981 but the biggest boost was the Metro Subway Station that opened in 1983.
As more the subway expanded in length (from Owings Mills to Johns Hopkins) more foot traffic past by the mall. The subway is also a transfer point to for bus riders making Mondawmin even more visible. As far as attracting another department store anchor to replace Sears that proved to be a difficult sell. Non traditional mall tenants began to show up and that actually boosted foot traffic more so than one would think. I write for Dead Malls.com on occasion and when non traditional tenants show up that signals the death of a mall. Mondawmin prooved to be the exception to the rule. The MVA opened a branch on a pad lot near Tioga Parkway. In the mall non traditional tenants include Social Services, Total Health Care, U.S. Army Recruiting Station, a rehab center, a parole center, and a Bail Bonds Center. These are vital community resources that add foot traffic to the more traditional mall tenants. They include Rainbow, New York & Company, Radio Shack, Ashley Stewart Woman, and Foot Locker.
With the exception of the 1981 renovation Rouse barely touched this mall. With General Growth as the new owners they are bringing in the in the big guns. Food Fare, was demolished to make way for a new Shoppers Food Warehouse, Target, and Marshalls. Two sit down restaurants are in the works as well. The mall will receive a complete makeover with new floors , lighting, and exterior facade. All this investment would be great for a suburban mall but we're in the city and Mondawmin, General Growth and the City need to realize this.