Little Patuxent and Governor Warfield Parkways
Howard County (Columbia), Maryland

Conceived as the commercial and civic center of Columbia, a Rouse Company planned city, MALL IN COLUMBIA was built on a 170 acre site, located 13.5 miles southwest of center city Baltimore. Designed by the firm of Cope, Linder & Walmsley, the dual level retail venue was the nineteenth mall built by Rouse.

MALL IN COLUMBIA was officially dedicated August 2, 1971 and encompassed 640,000 leasable square feet. The facility was anchored by a 2-level (135,000 square foot), Baltimore-based Hochschild-Kohn and 2-level (122,600 square foot), DC-based Woodward & Lothrop. It was the first mall to feature department stores from the two adjacent metro areas.

Eighty stores (out of an eventual one hundred and two) were dedicated during the official grand opening. These included Fashion Bug, Peck & Peck, Lerner Shops, Hyatt's For Men, Florsheim Shoes, Capitol Stationers, National Photo, Kinney Shoes, Joseph R. Harris, Tuerkes Leather Goods and a J.G. McCrory 5 & 10.

Major shopping centers in the MALL IN COLUMBIA trade area included WESTVIEW CENTER (1958) {8.2 miles northeast, in Baltimore County}, SECURITY SQUARE MALL (1972) {8.5 miles northeast, in Baltimore County} and -eventually- ARUNDEL MILLS (2000) {8 miles southeast, in Anne Arundel County}.

The first anchor change at MALL IN COLUMBIA transpired in the mid-1970s. Hochschild-Kohn, shuttered in February 1975, re-opened as an Arlington, Virginia-based Hecht's in August.

In 1981, the mall completed its first expansion. A 2-level (138,300 square foot) Sears was added, along with a 2-level Southwest Wing. The fifty-five store addition brought the GLA of the retail hub up to 1,010,000 square feet, with a retail roster of over one hundred and fifty tenants.

Woodward & Lothrop was shuttered November 10, 1995, with the store re-opening, as a J.C. Penney, on July 20, 1996. A second expansion of MALL IN COLUMBIA got underway July 28, 1997, when demolition began on the parking structure along the east side of the mall.

Construction commenced, in the following March, on a 2-level (120,000 square foot) Lord & Taylor, which was flanked on the north and south by new parking garages. These improvements were completed in November 1998.

The existing Hecht's had been enlarged with a third level during 1996 and 1997. The building now encompassed 202,500 square feet. Moreover, a (153,000 square foot) Northwest Wing was built, which housed forty stores and services. This addition was anchored by a 2-level (173,000 square foot) Nordstrom, which opened September 17, 1999.

At the same time, the interior of the existing mall was given a face lift. This included the installation of French limestone flooring, inverted pyramid light fixtures, new seating areas and signage. This project was completed in February 2000.

The fifth stage of the remodeling included a third parking deck, freestanding (30,000 square foot) L.L. Bean and a Plaza At The Mall restaurant pad; these built in the northwest parking area. L.L. Bean opened in March 2001. P.F. Chang's China Bistro welcomed its first diners in May of the same year.

The final component of the turn of the century mall makeover, the American Multi-Cinema Columbia 14, was dedicated December 17, 2003. The mall proper now encompassed approximately 1,430,500 leasable square feet and housed one hundred and ninety-eight stores and services.

Ownership of the shopping facility changed in November 2004, when Chicago's General Growth Properties acquired the assets of The Rouse Company.

L.L. Bean's MALL IN COLUMBIA store was short-lived. A plan was announced in July 2012, whereby it would close and relocate to a smaller space inside the mall. With this completed, the building was to be demolished and replaced by a section of lifestyle-format retail and restaurants.

These would comprise an eastward extension of the existing Plaza At The Mall. L.L. Bean closed in May 2013 and never re-opened. The first store in the Plaza At The Mall extension, Soma Intimates, opened its doors November 1, 2013.

By late 2014, the new open-air section was completed. Its restaurant tenants were Maggiano's Little Italy, Seasons 52 and Zoes Kitchen. Retail stores included Arhaus Furniture, Athleta Women's Performance Apparel, Secolari Gifts of Oils & other Enrichments and AT & T Mobility.

During 2017, Sears downsized their MALL IN COLUMBIA store into its (62,000 square foot) lower level. The upper floor was divided into three tenant spaces. A (51,000 square foot), Dallas-based Main Event Entertainment Center occupied the largest. There were also a (16,900 square foot) Barnes & Noble and (8,600 square foot) Uncle Julio's Mexican Restaurant. These were in business by late 2018.  


"Mall In Columbia" article on Wikipedia
The Baltimore Sun / Dave Bittner
Malls of America Blogspot / Keith Milford, webmaster (General Growth Properties)