Mondawin Mall slated for image change

New supermarket, warehouse store planned by Rouse

April 02, 1999|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Mondawmin Mall, a West Baltimore landmark and the city's oldest shopping mall, will be spruced up and expanded with a large new supermarket and a warehouse-size specialty chain, mall representatives said yesterday.

The mall's owner, Rouse Co., will build a 58,000-square-foot grocery store on the southern edge of the center and, in a second phase of development, construct a 132,000-square-foot store at the northwest corner, said Brian K. Gardiner, vice president and general manager for Mondawmin.

Rouse presented its plans yesterday to the city's Design Advisory Panel. The Columbia-based real estate development trust, which also owns Harborplace and The Gallery in the city and four Baltimore-area suburban regional malls, hopes to start the first phase next year, Gardiner said.

Rouse is negotiating with Baltimore-based Metro Food Markets for the supermarket space, possibly for a 24-hour market, Gardiner told the panel.

Home Depot Inc. has expressed interest in the mall, real estate sources have said. But Gardiner said yesterday only that Rouse has had preliminary talks with several retailers for the second large space.

Plans also call for a 10,000-square-foot, free-standing restaurant, Gardiner said.

"Retailers are recognizing there are great opportunities in the urban environment," he said.

Gardiner told the panel that the mall's existing supermarket, Stop, Shop & Save, which operates 13 Baltimore-area supermarkets, will close once a new supermarket opens. Two years ago, when Giant Food Inc. considered opening a store at Mondawmin, Rouse offered Henry T. Baines, president of Stop, Shop & Save, an undisclosed sum to close his store. At that time, Baines rejected the offer.

Yesterday, Baines said he has an agreement regarding the Mondawmin store with Richfood Holdings Inc., his Richmond, Va.-based wholesaler, but that he could not discuss details. Richfood owns Metro Food, the mall's likely new supermarket tenant.

The mall, which first opened as an open plaza with a Sears, Roebuck and Co. anchor in 1956, also plans exterior improvements, including reconfiguring a loop access road and improving walkways from the surrounding neighborhood to the shopping center, designers from Peter Fillat Architects said.

To spruce up the exterior, the team has designed multicolored metal panels that should make the mall look as if it's swathed in a band of fabric, said Kathleen Glynn, a designer. Members of the panel asked for revisions in exterior design to improve both vehicular and pedestrian access and to make the mall a more attractive focal point.

"The outside is a tired, old image," said M. J. "Jay" Brodie, president of the Baltimore Development Corp. "This is a chance to update the image."

Pub Date: 4/02/99

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