A "Box Store" at FrederickTowne Mall?

The Gazette has an update on the  fate of the dying FrederickTowne Mall:

In order to move forward with plans to replace the aging Fredericktowne Mall, the owners want the property rezoned to accommodate retail shopping without a residential element.

David Severn, a Frederick lawyer representing the DLC Management Corporation, which owns the mall, requested a change in zoning in a letter to Joe Adkins, the city’s director of planning. The mall was previously zoned for general commercial, but switched to mixed use in 2005, when the owners envisioned a shopping center that includes retail and residences. But Severn said there are no tenants ready to build on the site.

“There’s nobody that’s agreed to do anything there,” Severn said, adding that the owners are open to many types of retail, including big-box stores.

Severn said the desire to revert to the previous designation is because the types of shopping centers that included apartments are no longer desirable.

Make sure you read the whole article and if you haven’t been to the mall lately here is a video from a couple months ago:

Via the Gazette’s Twitter feed.

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44 thoughts on “A "Box Store" at FrederickTowne Mall?

  1. This is depressing…they’ve begun the work on the new CVS near the McDonald’s past there, and once that’s gone…I thought they would tear it down.

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  2. I can remember going to this mall all the time with my family in the late 80’s/early 90’s. It’s surreal to see that video now and see how empty it is. Hopefully they will figure something out soon.

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  3. So Ms Morton “would rather see it empty”…..rather than a productive retail site (big box) that provides employment and and contributes to the tax base? Wow. That is the ultimate in self-centered self-righteous “we don’t care what the public wants or needs, it’s all about what we think you should have.” Personally I’d love to see a Target on the other end of town so that I don’t have to constantly drive all the way to the south side. Other things I’d love to see here someday: REI, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, LL Bean…the stores I shop at quite often in either Montgomery County or over in Columbia.

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    • Great store lineup. Trader Joe’s and REI especially. Frederick needs at least 1 outdoor outfitter… even DICK’S would be a site for sore eyes. I think the world could do w/out another Whole Foods though. Just my opinion.

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      • As an avid hiker/backpacker I do know that Sports Authority is useless as an outfitter. They are only interested in car camping and ball sports. Plus, as a Petite size, they have zero clothing that really fits me – REI has Petites. Dick’s does have a little more of a hiker/backpacker selection, and more for water sports like kayaking, but still is weak in the outdoors gear area that doesn’t relate to ball sports or car camping again, no real Petities selection. I know….we have a downtown outfitter…..sort of. “We don’t have it but we can order it” is not how I shop.

        Whole Foods is just a completely different world in the grocery store universe. It has a definite place and for foodies like me it’s a dream come true for specialty items that stores like Common Market, MOM’s and even Trader Joe’s don’t carry.

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      • About 7 years ago a friend of mine had a petition drive to try and get a Trader Joe’s to come to Frederick. After she sent the petition, she got a reply back from TJs telling her that Frederick did not have the income or demographic that they thought would support a successful store, so they were not interested. I think there was talk that they had looked into a place close to the creek.

        The demographics and incomes may have changed since that time, but this is what they said then. So sad. I agree that stores like TJs have a lot to offer!

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      • Is there any truth to the rumor that Aldi’s has the same exact food as trader Joe’s and Aldi’s is trader Joe’s generic option.

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      • I’ve been in Aldi’s once. That was enough. It was like shopping for “remainder” food in a small warehouse. Might be cheap but then you get what you pay for.

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      • Sadly, it’s not true. The only product that appears to be identical is Aldi’s Extra Fine Green Beans and TJ’s Haricots Verts, each imported from France.

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      • Trader Joe’s was founded by Joe Coulombe and has been owned, since 1979, by a family trust set up by the late German businessman Theo Albrecht, one of the two brothers behind the German discount supermarket chain Aldi Nord.

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  4. Ooo, those would be lovely, Gypsy. And those are destination-type stores. Sure, the REI/TJs crowd isn’t at that end of town much NOW, but if those stores were there, they’d come. And *then* Ms. Morton could get her restaurants and smaller stores. Knocking down the mall and slipping a boutique between Ollie’s and Boscov’s is just not going to accomplish a thing (except for creating smaller abandoned stores).

    Or we could just start roller skating in the mall. That could be fun. :O)

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  5. If you have an interest in the the mall and the Golden Mile as a whole, I would encourage you to attend the Golden Mile Alliance meetings. They are held the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7pm at Hillcrest community center. More information about the area and the proposed changes can be found on the city website. Also the next Planning Commission meeting is on April 9th at 6pm, where the Golden Mile Small Area Plan will be discussed, this is a chance to get your desires heard before zoning decisions, etc. are made.

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  6. What’s surprising to me is that they allow the public to walk around the inside of the mall– it’s like a ghost town and seems like the ideal place to get robbed.

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  7. A Target would be awesome, but a “big box’ store like Walmart or Big Lots wouldn’t help much to improve the image of the Golden Mile.

    We have a friend who is a manager for Trader Joes in NOVA and he says that because of TJ’s shipping routes, it is unlikely we would get one in this area anytime soon.

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    • You’re right – I have no desire to see yet another Wal-Mart, and Ollie’s is already a “Big Lot’s” type of store. We have two Home Depots, two Lowe’s, two Wal-Marts, FIVE Starbucks …and they all stay busy. So why can’t we have two Targets? With gas prices soaring, having a Target on each end of town would be a real time/gas saver. I think people often forget that it’s not just the residents of Frederick that shop here. We pull in shoppers from all over the county and from the edges of the surrounding counties because we have the big stores that they either don’t have at all or are too far away for practicality.

      Meanwhile, there sits the former Giant store on the Golden Mile, empty and echoing. What a great location for a Whole Foods or an REI. I used to go to the LL Bean outlet store in Hagerstown til it disappeared. How wonderful it would have been to have it come here. Now I have to go to Columbia or Tyson’s to shop at LL Bean. Until stores like that show up here, I’ll just plan my trips better, budget for the gas, and continue to go to those other cities. I won’t be somehow “forced” to shop here. It’s all about choice.

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  8. Oh, that video is so sad. I remember friends working in the mall in high school. I remember the mall being so crowded on Friday nights, not just during holidays. I was jealous of the kids who moms would just drop them off and let them hang out there all day! Target would be great, and in the Baltimore area there are places that have more than one Target (Glen Burnie has 2 for example, they may be further apart, but not by much) Maybe another chain restaurant (I know I know, Frederick doesn’t need anymore…but a good one does draw in the crowds. Think Columbia, it has a ton of chain restaurants, and they are always busy..the goods ones are anyway)

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    • We’d love to see a Chili’s, Joe’s Crab Shack (Libertyville Seafood is gone, May’s is marginal, and Dutch’s Daughter is too “high end”), a real Brit Pub (NOT a “sports bar” with TVs running – but a REAL pub with leather chairs and sofas, simple tables and chairs, QUIET, a fireplace, on-tap real ales and bitters, simple pub food. We will NOT go to any place that has TVs on every wall anymore, and we are NOT alone).

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      • I love the idea of a pub. I hate going to a restaurant and battling the TV noise just to have a conversation with my seatmate. It’s a restaurant, not a club!

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  9. Heard somewhere that Bass Pro Shops was being considered for the site. Don’t know the validity of it, but that would be good to help rebuild The Golden Mile.

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  10. in reference to the comment “types of shopping centers that included apartments are no longer desirable” made me laugh. now i can see why this mall got to this point.

    Yes, places like Kentlands, Rockville Town Square, and Bethesda are not desirable because the apartments are mixed with shopping centers. Everyone hates that, who wants to be able to walk to a restaurant or store from a luxury apartment or condo. lol, ridiculously out of touch. What people dont want anymore or malls, so at least we can surely get rid of that.

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      • And there is Fairfax Lakes – beautiful high end condos that are next to a huge Whole Foods, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, REI, and more. But they are also on a major commute route, in a very nice high-end area. That end of the Golden Mile has a myriad of problems, even if some think it’s only a matter of “perception.” Will building brand new stores and really nice condos fix that? Probably. But first we’ll have to hear the howls of “gentrification!” just like we did when those $500,000 condos were built downtown on the corner of Market and South Streets. “How dare you try to make our neighborhood nicer! Now we’ll be forced to clean up our homes and the streets!” I know too many people who sold up at a loss and fled that Golden Mile area because of the crime and “perceptions” of it. That has to change.

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    • I find the comments very interesting in regard to the idea of apts. being mixed with shopping centers “no longer being viewed as desirable”…and everyone hating the concept because “who wants to be able to walk to a restaurant or store.” I’m no expert on residential/commercial planning, but what I hear about and read on the subject continues to center on the idea of “walkable communities” where people can walk to shopping and jobs and become less car-dependent. If Kentlands can be viewed as an example of this concept (though I’m not sure how much the “walk to work” part comes into play), sales and prices in the community still indicate a strong demand to live there.

      I’m not advocating the idea specifically as the solution for the Fredericktowne Mall site or the Golden Mile generally (the concept apparently was considered here and rejected). But walkable communities with integral shopping and employment is hardly an example of an unappealing idea whose time has come and gone.

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      • Or maybe, Sean, I mis-read your comments, which may have been “tongue-in-cheek.” But I still was surprised to read that potential developers of the Fredericktowne Mall have rejected out of hand the concept of some sort of housing being paired with shopping/offices…seeming to imply that the idea is no longer desirable or capable of being successful.

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  11. I wouldn’t say that they have to stick to their original plan, but I hope someone is thinking this through. Sure, there are few retailers out there that are well-known and big enough to be “destinations” on their own, but I think just throwing up a bunch of “me too” shopping is not going to work in this location. I personally have no problem with the Golden Mile, but it is clear that at this point the public at large has a more negative perception of it. It just seems like they have the chance to do something unique on that property that could positively impact the whole area and I just hope they owner/developer isn’t just giving up and cashing out.

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  12. BJ’s Wholesale, Old Navy, Whole Foods or Trader Joes, Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs, Ikea, Children’s Museum/Science/Activity Center, REI, Earth Treks Climbing

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    • I’d like to see an Old Navy there. I also think Frederick could use another movie theater. Maybe one with a different twist: I went to a theater recently in another city that combined large screens with tables/(comfortable) chairs and food and drink service–nice ambiance that made for a great evening. I know this sort of thing hasn’t always worked out when tried in the past…but it’s also been shown to be quite successful, if done right.

      I’m also one of those who’ve said that Trader Joes missed a great chance to open in Frederick a few years ago, before Wegman’s grabbed on to the opportunity. With Wegman’s here, any possibility that TJ’s would come to this market is gone (if there ever was a chance). But don’t get me wrong–Wegman’s would be my choice in a heartbeat, if it came down to one store vs. the other.

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      • It sounds like you’re describing the Leitersburg, up in Hagerstown. I would LOVE to see a Dinner & Movie experience like that in Frederick.

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  13. Three or 4 years ago we asked the Trader Joe’s in Montgomery Village why they didn’t open a store in Frederick. The answer we got was that locating a store here would cannibalize the sales of the Montgomery Village store. So, the chances of our getting a TJ here look pretty bleak, but we do have a Wegmans, which leaves us better off, does it not?

    I think our population density and demographics make it less than likely that a speciality store will locate in Frederick. What might be viable here is a Vanity Fair type of mall that includes Polo, Ralph Lauren, Brooks, Bali/Hanes like they have in Hagerstown, with each store reinforcing the others as a destination. The Fredericktowne Mall site has a pretty good geographic location near the junction of Rtes 70 and 270.

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    • Really? They believe that we’re all going to drive 20+ miles out of our way to shop in their store? Delusional. I never go there to shop. But if a Trader Joe’s (or Whole Foods) was here I’d shop at it here. So if they believe that in Frederick County we are somehow “trapped” into shopping at their store they are extraordinarily wrong. We simply won’t shop there at all. Especially with gas at the $4/gal range. I’ll burn the gas to go to REI but that’s about it.

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      • I *will* drive to TJs in Montco, as they have several products that I adore that I can’t find anywhere else. But I can also say that I don’t do it all that often, maybe once every two or three months. I bring a cooler, load up on the products (most of which are frozen or refrigerated) that I can’t get anywhere else, and pair it with a trip to H-Mart for asian specialties (located just behind TJs) and good produce.

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      • A lot of consumers nowadays WILL cross county lines to shop, eat at restaurants, visit doctors, etc. Most of us have visited Prime Outlets in Hagerstown, and you can rest assured that Wegmans is drawing from a very wide Maryland area (they are mailing weekly flyers to my kids in Rockville!). Many of us also are recent migrants from Montgomery County, and we still have friends, doctors, and contacts there that we see regularly.

        The point is that to survive and prosper Fredericktowne Mall and other merchants need to look beyond the immediate Frederick County or City customer base and develop a competitive commercial draw that attracts customers from outside our area. Wegmans and Costco are good examples that I hope that Fredericktowne Mall can follow.

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  14. Many of you brought up very valid remarks. We definitely need a mall owner that listens to the people that live here. We definitely need movie theaters on this side of town along with various shopping experiences that would encourage not only Frederick shoppers to visit but those coming from others areas to stop off and visit. I love the person that mentioned Old Navy along with the idea of REI and some good restaurants, I love the idea of a Chili’s. Trader Joe’s needs to wise up and realize that there is strong market here for their business, if they don’t, they are the losers. Also, to the comment about Ms. Morton, if you read the article carefully, she was stating the wishes of the residents in their NAC. I must agree as I would never want to see something like Walmart in that location. It definitely would not increase the shopping population or increase an upscale feeling to the Golden Mile. I also do not understand why the mall does not want to include some residential to the area. I totally agree that people like to live within walking of commerce. Another thought, how about having some office building there to encourage jobs in our area.

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  15. Just to let you all know the original owners of the mall did talk about a housing component as part of the rebuild – but since then, it has been sold to another developer and that is NO LONGER part of their plan. They are trying to have the zoning changed back to what it previously was which is general commercial. If you would like to be part of the solution of revitalizing the Golden Mile, why not come out to a meeting of the Golden Mile Alliance on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Hillcrest Community Center. Join a committee and become part of the group working to move us forward toward a positive and thriving future.

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  16. I read this site now an again an I reading along an then its talking about the mall then I see my video an couldnt believe it! wish someone would of let know… I post a pic on here a few years ago when the closed pargoos an I went inside an it was abanadoned… anyways thanks for checking out my video feel free to see my other videos…

    Thanks,
    Joshua Lawson

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  17. I attended and spoke at last night’s rezoning meeting. It was very interesting that the lawyer for the mall stated that they will build a large retail (big box) store in the location of the mall because basically, the people of Frederick would only shop in that type of store, not small boutique type of stores.

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    • Darn, I would of wish I had known this was going on I would of love to gone. When Is the next meeting an where? I love malls but that mall is small an not level with route 40 an hasn’t had a real renovation in years… Other then the grand entrance was updated. I think once wards left an they sealed that wall, along with the 100% change of demographics along route 40… It’s fate was sealed

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      • Josh,

        You can find out about planning commission/zoning meetings from the city’s website. Also the Golden Mile Alliance meets the 3rd Tuesdayat 7pm at Hillcrest Community Center. And you can also view the city meetings live online if you can’t physically make the meeting. And just an aside, I have lived off of Route 40 for the better part of 20 years first in Crystal Park apts. then in Stonegate Farm single family and I am the same demo i have always been 🙂 white/female.

        The Golden Mile area is a main thru fare for not just residents but visitors and commuters as well. It has been and continues to be my hope ( and i make it clear at meetings) that the city and property owners will realize this and treat it as such. As long as I pay city taxes, we should all be treated equally even if I am in the last block of the border. Change is coming it is just very slow at times. But I am grateful for the new CVS and McDs by this end of 40 and hope it trickles down the road!

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  18. Any updates on the Frederick Towne mall discussion? Been awhile?

    I’d love to see Trader Joes and Old Navy in the Golden Mile. It would clean up that area well. Old Navy would do extremely well. And TJ’s would do great. Wegmans is crushing it now…and TJ’s is moderately priced too.

    Having an REI or Dick’s would be awesome or a Cheesecake Factory …but that wouldn’t work well in that location until they cleaned up the neighnorhood a bit more.

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    • HI David, The owner of the FTM continues to want what he wants and at least up till now has not been open to cooperation. The Golden Mile Alliance continues to meet the Third Tuesday of each month. The GMA along with the city have been reaching out to the owners and hope to reach some level of compromise. The GM Small Area Plan still needs to be approved by the City, that will go a long way in determining what goes in along the mile, how it looks, etc. Those meetings information can be found on the city website as they have varied as to day and time.

      A new supermarket is coming to the old Giant space. The 2 McD’s have been made over along with CVS,a vet cardiology practice is now located inside the emergency vet space and wants to expand, so there are good things happening and they don’t necessarily have to be retail based. Not sure exactly what you mean by cleaning up, but certainly if you have ideas, suggestions the GMA and or NAC 5 and 8 would love to hear them.

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