After destroying the parking decks surrounding the legendary mall, construction crews are now demolishing White Flint Mall itself. As you can see in these photos, the iconic entrance of the dead mall is demolition central right now, with piles of debris surrounding it.
Now that the recent court decision has vindicated the arguments both I and Lord & Taylor have been making for years, expect the demolition and posturing to continue by mall owner Lerner. All the threats you've been hearing about the development being unable to go forward is simply an attempt to influence the public, the media, elected officials - and ultimately the courts - to absolve them from their $31 million in legal obligations to Lord & Taylor. I salute Lord & Taylor for their continued willingness to fight, and for their loyalty to the patrons of their store and of the mall itself. Imagine trying to run that store when everyone is under the impression that the whole property is closed, and in direct violation of the agreement signed by both parties.
The question of whether or not Wegman's has lost interest in building a store on the grandfathered Bloomingdale's footprint is the actual issue that theoretically would be of most concern to Lerner. Long rumored, a Wegman's would have certainly been used by Lerner to deodorize the "town center" it intends to replace the mall with from public criticism. Without a coveted anchor like Wegman's, it will be far more challenging to draw traffic from the multiple other town centers that will be operating in the Pike District - and many more are on the way.
Certainly, some of these town centers will be successful. But is fully urbanizing the area going to be sustainable for 9 or more individual property owners, each having restaurants and stores that need to pay rent fighting for the same audience?
Take a last flight through the wreckage of White Flint Mall - aboard a drone!
All photos ©2015 Robert Dyer
Do not steal these photos without permission!