The developers of the Frederick Towne Mall property say building a Wal-Mart is the solution for redeveloping the commercial stretch of U.S. 40 in the city known as the Golden Mile.
That would be the big-box chain’s third location in Frederick.
Wal-Mart representatives joined the developer and its team Wednesday at the weekly workshop of the mayor and aldermen. The developer is seeking a change in the property’s current zoning, which calls for a mix of commercial and residential development, to one that allows only commercial construction.
“Wal-Mart has agreed to purchase a substantial portion of the mall property to be the anchor property in this redevelopment,” David Severn, attorney for the developer, said at Wednesday’s meeting. “We believe it will reinvigorate this area of the Golden Mile and the entire Golden Mile.”
This was the first time the developer identified Wal-Mart as a potential partner, but Severn stressed that the new zoning would be the only way the project would work. A design plan was also presented for the first time that detailed how the store would look and what amenities would be included to spruce up the 50-acre property, which includes 28 acres that won’t be touched. Boscov’s and Home Depot, which take up about half the mall property, are privately owned and are not going anywhere.
The developer and Wal-Mart made the following points in favor of the plan:
- New jobs; up to 300
- More people coming to the Golden Mile; results in an increase of traffic to other retail in the area
- Updates to the area around the mall; pedestrian bridge over 40 and a park
Personally, I think we could do without another Wal-Mart. With two other Wal-Mart’s in the area I don’t buy the “bring people to Golden Mile” argument, maybe it will keep people in that area there who would normally travel to 26 or 85 stores.
No matter how much I’m against it though, I suppose an open Wal-Mart might be better than a mostly abandoned mall.
Whatever you think it sounds like citizens will have a chance to comment on this plan:
Severn said meetings were planned with neighborhood groups and the Golden Mile Alliance to show them the developer’s exact plan.
It’s also important to note that the ” … city’s planning commission has already recommended the change not be made.” And that the final decision is up to the Alderman.