The Pikesville Chamber of Commerce hosted a breakfast April 19 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Owings Mills to discuss the future of the site of the now-demolished Owings Mills Mall.
Kimco Realty’s mid-Atlantic director of development Dana Valenti and vice president of development Gregory Reed presented those in attendance with a site map and estimated timeline of construction completion and retail openings. Kimco is a New York-based real estate investment trust that owns and operates 24 shopping centers in Baltimore County.
The former mall site will be what Kimco calls a “power center,” featuring two large anchor stores and about a half-dozen “junior anchor” retail spaces, between 30,000 to 50,000 square feet. The shopping center will be called Mill Station.
In November, Kimco announced that Costco, the second-largest retailer in the world (behind Walmart), would be the first anchor tenant. According to Reed, although many retailers have shown interest in both the second large anchor property and the small junior anchor spaces, Costco is still the only confirmed tenant.
“Until a lease is signed and executed, we don’t make announcements,” said Reed.
Costco, which will build its own facility, can construct a store within 110 days, and plans to open in August. At that time, Kimco will begin construction of the junior anchor spaces. Reed expects that construction to be finished in the winter, with retailers opening for business by May 2019.
Costco, whose late founder was Jewish, is known to carry a variety of kosher products.
Rabbi Daniel Plotkin of Temple Isaiah, a Pikesville native, said he and his wife have been hoping for a Costco in the area since moving to town from St. Louis. He believes by adding Costco to the list of places offering kosher meats, which includes butcher Wasserman and Lemberger and grocer Seasons, the whole kosher industry will improve.
“Competition is always good. I’ve lived in cities where the kashrut industry is treated more like a charity than a business,” he said. “Having a lot of different choices, having the ability to get larger quantities of kosher meat close by is good for the general community and for Jews in outlying areas like Howard County.”
Community members in attendance included Del. Shelley Hettleman (D-District 11), Baltimore County Council District 4 candidate Derrick Burnett and County Council District 2 candidates Rick Yaffe and Izzy Patoka.
“This is my first look at it, but I think the developers did a good job presenting,” said Patoka. “I would like to see a strong sense of place, because it’s important for any commercial area to compliment the commercial area next door to it. It needs to be a fun and enjoyable place to go to.”
Reed specified that Mill Station will feature a sidewalk that will wrap around the perimeter and provide a pedestrian connection to Metro Centre at Owings Mills.
Alvin Levi, former chairman of the Better Business Bureau and Maryland Retailers Association, asked Reed if there would be any space in the junior anchor spaces reserved for local independent retailers rather than national chains.
Reed replied by saying the ideal is to have a balance between national chains and local retailers or restaurants that offer something unique.
Jessica Normington, executive director of the Pikesville Chamber of Commerce, is encouraged by Kimco’s vision and ability to stay on top of consumer trends.
“It’s been a big question mark for years and we are excited Kimco has stepped up and is developing the property,” she said. “Malls are slowly fading and walkable communities like this one are coming up around the county and across the country.”