While a lawsuit threatens to derail the redevelopment of White Flint Mall, the deconstruction of the 1970’s-era shopping center on Rockville Pike continues apace.
The mostly demolished mall. All photos from the author.
My normal commute to work has me bicycling around the west and north sides of the White Flint Mall property regularly. When I came back from vacation last week, I was amazed to see how far the deconstruction of the parking structure has come.
Developer Lerner Enterprises wants to turn the mall into a new urban neighborhood with shops, housing, and a new street grid. It’s one part of Montgomery County’s plans to make the larger White Flint area into a new downtown.
But department store Lord & Taylor, which still has a store at the mall, says that violates a promise Lerner made in 1975 to keep the mall a mall, and filed a lawsuit against the developer last year. Last month, a Maryland judge ruled in favor of Lord & Taylor and said Lerner has to pay them $31 million in “lost profits,” which the Lerners say could imperil their plans to redevelop the site.
The mall closed in January and demolition started in July. The parking garages around the mall have been torn down and much of the mall’s interior has been ripped out, but the structure’s exterior remains.
Of course Lord & Taylor’s building remains intact. So they will soon have a bunch of money (pending appeals, of course) and a stand-alone store in a temporary wasteland.