In 20 years, this is how the WHITE FLINT site could be configured. The circa-'77 mall will have long since been demolished, with only its Lord & Taylor (surrounded in blue) left standing. Structures in pink house retail and restaurant tenants. An office tower is indicated in orange, with yellow areas being devoted to residential units.
Original drawing from Lerner Enterprises & The Tower Companies

Rockville Pike and Edison Lane
Montgomery County (North Bethesda), Maryland

Rockville, Maryland's Lerner Enterprises played a major part in the development of several Greater Washington, DC retail centers. Their first major endeavor, Maryland's WHEATON PLAZA, was dedicated in 1960.

This mega mall was followed by Virginia's TYSONS CORNER CENTER (1968), Maryland's LANDOVER MALL (1972), Virginia's TYSONS GALLERIA (1988) and Virginia's DULLES TOWN CENTER (1999).

WHITE FLINT MALL, also a Lerner Enterprises project, was built on a 43 acre plot, located 11.6 miles northwest of the United States Capitol. The compact, 3-level shopopolis encompassed 800,000 leasable square feet and housed one hundred and twenty retail spaces.

The first operational store in the 50 million dollar complex, a 4-level (259,000 square foot), New York City-based Bloomingdale's, held its grand opening February 26, 1977. Next came a 2-level (118,000 square foot), New York City-based Lord & Taylor, which was inaugurated March 1, 1977.

The mall proper was officially dedicated March 7, 1977. It included the eleventh location of Washington-based Raleigh's (a high-end gentlemen's and ladies' apparel store), the 12-bay Eatery (an early version of a shopping mall food court) and The Movies White Flint (a 5-screen multiplex).

The interior of the original mall was divided into several "city street" themed areas. The Georgetown Office Park was located on Level 3. The Tuscany Town-motif Via Rialto was situated along the Level 1 Main Entrance corridor.

WHITE FLINT MALL was conceived as a high-end retail complex. Plans for a third anchor, which was to have been a New York City-based Bonwit Teller, had been announced in January 1977. This store never materialized. The space was filled by a 2-level (80,000 square foot), San Francisco-based I. Magnin, which opened August 12, 1978.

Competitors of WHITE FLINT MALL were many...although not as upscale. They included the aforementioned WHEATON PLAZA {2.6 miles east, in unincorporated Montgomery County, Maryland} and MONTGOMERY MALL (1968) {2.1 miles southwest, also in unincorporated Montgomery County}.

WHITE FLINT MALL became rapid-transit-accessible December 15, 1984, with the inauguration of revenue service on the DC Metro's 6.9 route mile White Flint-to-Shady Grove Red Line extension. The White Flint station was situated 2 blocks north of the mall.

A prospective expansion of the shopping hub was announced in July 1989, which was to include a new Macy's anchor store. This plan was never carried out. The first anchor rebranding at the property involved I. Magnin, which was shuttered June 6, 1992. A (40,000 square foot) portion of its space re-opened, as a Borders Books & Music, in July 1993. 

The mall was renovated between 2003 and 2005, with its Main Entrance and Center Court being refurbished. The 5-plex cinema, which had been operated as Neighborhood, Cineplex Odeon, Loews Cineplex and AMC venues, was also remodeled.

WHITE FLINT MALL was now owned by a joint venture of its original developer, Lerner Enterprises, and the Rockville, Maryland-based Tower Companies. The shopping facility still encompassed its original 800,000 leasable square feet, but now housed one hundred and twenty-five store spaces.

During the early years of the 21st century, the center strived to remain competitive with the nearby Central Business Districts of Bethesda and Friendship Heights. Unfortunately, it had lost a great deal of its original luster. The owners announced a redevelopment in November 2011. They would, over the course of 25 years, reinvent the shopping hub as an "outdoor mix" of residential, retail and office components.

The shuttering of Bloomingdale's, on March 14, 2012, heralded the end of WHITE FLINT MALL, as Washingtonians had come to know it. The vacant store was sealed off from the rest of the complex and razed in April 2013.

Other tenants were given eviction notices. By late 2014, only Khoury Brothers Jewelers, P.F. Chang's China Bistro and Lord & Taylor remained in business. Khoury Brothers relocated their store, P.F. Chang's closed theirs on January 4, 2015. In July 2015, demolition of the mall structure got underway.

Further progress on the renewal project was challenged by lawsuits instigated by Dave & Buster's and Lord & Taylor. The former gave up the fight and closed their store in August 2014. Lord & Taylor, under the auspices of New York City's NRDC Equity Partners, sued the owners of the mall. Their store remained in operation and will become part of a redeveloped WHITE FLINT property.


The Washington Post
"White Flint Mall" article on Wikipedia / Mike Rivest
Comment post by M. Terry