Hi. Yesterday began with a visit to Baltimore County’s office of Permits, Approvals & Inspections to look at their file #04-0240. That’s the file that contains Kimco’s site plans for its Owings Mills Mall property.
What we discovered was that, way back in May 2015, Kimco submitted not just one, but four site plans – labeled simply A through D – for the County to review. As you’ll see, they are very similar, big box store strip centers with some office space. All of the site plans have in common that they are uninspired, adding nothing interesting to economy, culture or ambiance of the greater community whose consumer dollars they need to succeed.
Okay, so here goes… The four PDFs at the bottom of this post are copies of Kimco’s site plans A through D that were approved by the County’s Development Review Committee on May 12, 2015. (That’s a screenshot of part of Site Plan D below.) These are full-size engineering drawings, but they’ll be 8.5” x 11” pages on your computer’s screen. Just blow them up to 100% and move around the engineering drawings to read the detail.
As you’ll see, the largest store on any of these 4 plans is 68,000 SF. So, for example, were Councilman Jones to introduce legislation limiting store size to, let’s say, 80,000 SF, that restriction would have no impact on these plans, whatsoever.
Why introduce a bill restricting store size when Kimco’s site plans aren’t indicating anything larger than 68,000 SF? Because, privately, Kimco is negotiating with Walmart to bring in a huge, 180,000+ SF “Supercenter” that will result in the closing of the established Walmarts on Liberty and Reisterstown Road and the many other stores that depend upon the customer traffic these anchors attract.
While at the PAI this morning, we confirmed that Kimco has delivered no further plans for review since this series of 4 options was submitted in May of 2015 – 15 months ago.
There’s something wrong with this picture, isn’t there? Was Kimco serious about these 4 plans or just wasting the County’s time and money reviewing them? More likely, these plans were more exploratory than real. Maybe Kimco thought it could slip in a Walmart Supercenter or other super large store by combining stores on its site plans – and do it as a simple modification that doesn’t require formal hearings for community input. Who knows? What we do know or can deduce is that Kimco is in no hurry to redevelop the Mall property based on one of these site plans.
Take a look at the site plans below and other articles we’ve published on the subject. Read and sign our petition for Councilman Jones if you agree with its objective. And feel free to call or email Councilman Jones to encourage him to make sure Kimco doesn’t do anything that doesn’t have a substantial positive net benefit for the District 4 economy and neighborhoods.
Most importantly, it’s essential than Councilman Jones not trust Kimco to protect the established businesses on Liberty and Reisterstown Roads. And the only sure way of doing that is by introducing a simple law limiting store size on the Mall property.
Also, we’ve invited Councilman Jones to comment on the meeting he said he would be having with Kimco last week, but have not heard back from him yet.
And here’s how you can reach Councilman Jones if you would like to give him your comments and suggestions…