Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WHAT'S STILL OPEN AT WHITE FLINT MALL (PHOTOS)

The Dark Side of White Flint, Part 24

Welcome to The Dark Side of White Flint, an ongoing series about the not-so-wonnerful, wonnerful, wonnerful side of urbanizing the suburbs of Montgomery County.

In the last two installments, we've talked about the latest closures at White Flint Mall. What many want to know is, what is still open at White Flint Mall?

The list is quite short: Lord and Taylor, P.F. Chang's, Dave and Buster's, Khoury Brothers, Rochelle Hackley DDS, and the U.S. Post Office. A whopping 6 tenants.

An examination of the April 2013 mall directory, compared to the February 2014 directory, is simply stunning. Remember, the mall was fully-leased, and it was hard to get a close-by parking space for the Cheesecake Factory and other popular dining spots, when the owners pulled the plug. This was never a mismanaged, failing mall:
April 2013
February 2014

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think it's time for them to announce a real closing date. Do you know more about Robert Lewis Salon? Did they move elsewhere? I used to be a client but many stylists left because there was 0 walk-in traffic in the mall already a year ago. The story then was that that White Flint had offered tenants willing to stay first delivery in the future development.

Anonymous said...

It'd make sense to try and get H&M and some of the other chains back in the new development.

Anonymous said...

I am really surprised they didn't try to do this in phases like with Mid-Pike Plaza. Those tenants leaving are never coming back. A big national chain might be able to open a pop-up for a few years (is that still a pop-up?) but a small local business can't do that.

Anonymous said...

The lack of communication between the mall owners and the surrounding community is worrisome.
No one knew the schedule of store closures.

Robert Dyer said...

They did not leave a sign directing clients to a new location.

Robert Dyer said...

Yeah, they have parking lot room to build around the existing mall. In fact, they could have just added buildings around the mall, but they're gambling on maximum profit. But where's the population to sustain 8 or 9 town centers within less than a mile of each other? A gamble indeed.

Robert Dyer said...

The secrecy is part of the strategy, and the local media obediently complied. Now they can turn and say, "we have a hulking, vacant mall! Surely we can do better than this!" Better PR than announcing closure while fully leased with crowded parking lots.

Anonymous said...

The developers want "mixed use development." The only malls left in Montgomery Count are Wheaton Plaza and Montgomery Mall. It's sad the way politicians and developers have taken away everything that is good in Montgomery County and slapped up a bunch of condos that aren't being bough. Drive around Rockville at night and you won't see many condos with lights on. I don't know why politicians and developers want more and more and more condos. They aren't selling what they have.

Anonymous said...

When Borders had to close due to the popularity of online shopping, the mall lost one of its big stores. The mall managers should have looked for a store to replace Borders. We don't need more unsold condos and unleased office space. Mixed use development is a joke.

Anonymous said...

It seems like the strategy is to flush out the tenants. Sad.

Anonymous said...

There is another mall in Montgomery County. It is Lakeforest in gaithersburg.

Robert Dyer said...

Jim Humphrey of the Montgomery County Civic Federation published an interesting column in the Sentinel last year, in which he wrote that there is an obscure tax write off for building owners when they have a certain number of vacant units. I had never heard this before. Vacant units in a building are a clear indication that the apartments/condos are not being offered at the true market rate.

Anonymous said...

Robert: You hit the nail on the head with the 8 or 9 town centers comment. I am all for urbanism and new urbanism but all these upscale town centers are not sustainable. We built too many malls and now we are building too many town centers,

Robert Dyer said...

Originally, the idea was "a" literal town center, like Bethesda Row or Rockville Town Square. Now each individual development is a town center the size of Rockville's. I just can't figure out how that is sustainable.

Andrew said...

Lake Forest needs major investment to become viable and I doubt it will get that. It already had a bad reputation when I moved here in 1998 and the place was just 20 years old. Smaller malls are disappearing and the major ones that draw customer from large geographic areas are becoming upscale super malls. Tyson's and Montgomery will survive. Not sure about the rest.

Anonymous said...

Actually I was surprised White Flint was not transformed into a Tysons like destination with high end shops. Anyway, the PF Chang's will stay to the end. They are building another restaurant in the parking lot and will simply move from their existing space to one in the parking lot right in front of them. This is per a long standing employee there.

Zipzipzippy said...

For me, one of the most perplexing parts of the White Flint Mall p(re)development is: why on earth is there a USPS office still open in a nearly vacant mall? A sign inside says USPS is still looking for a new location and an employee told me emphatically that this branch is not going to close. I wonder if USPS or the Postal Workers Union is fighting to keep this branch open for fear that if it's closed pending a new location, it will never re-open?

Anonymous said...

The post office is opening just down the street on Nicholson Lane in the strip mall across from Wendy's.

Anonymous said...

Not sure where you get the idea that the mall was going gangbusters. Personally, I think that even 3 years ago, at least a quarter of the storefronts there were empty.

Robert Dyer said...

I got the "idea the mall was going gangbusters" from the mall owners themselves. As recently as two years ago, just before they started hinting at redeveloping the property, they said the mall was fully leased. As in no vacancies.

The other place I got the "idea" from, was having to park far away from Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang's, etc. and walk all the way back to the restaurant. As in, parking lot jammed with cars, not long before demolition talk started.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know when Lord and Taylor will be closing??

Robert Dyer said...

Lord and Taylor isn't closing - they own their building, and are staying in the community. I give them bonus points for at least making an effort to stop the mall from being demolished. Same for Dave and Buster's, who have challenged the demolition, even though they don't have the security of owning their space like L&T.

Bravo to both businesses.

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