M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal — Retail Development Reimagined — Industry Experts — March 19 - April 15, 2021 — 31A I ndustry E xperts


By Drew Romanic, The Martin Architectural Group Don’t blame the internet (or COVID-19) for killing malls


a fountain and fireplace, a bandstand, restaurants and a theater. For Martin, every project is unique, with the type of structures, residences and amenities determined by climate, demographics, site characteristics, land as- signments, REAs and lease covenants. It’s important to note that mall redevelopment is not for the faint of heart. A team of experts, including an archi- tect/land planner, land use attorney, and civil and traffic engineers, all with experience in mall redevelopment, is a

must. Most importantly, you need deep pockets, a strong stom- ach and a lot of patience. You will have to work with lo- cal government, tenants and neighbors, some of whomwon’t like you. Zoning will have to be changed, and tenants may have to be relocated. It’s a lot to consider, but when faced with losing the mall or revisioning it as a vi- brant part of the community, the choice is clear. Drew Romanic is princi- pal at The Martin Architec- tural Group, PC. MAREJ

t’s been a tough year for retail. Actually, it’s been a tough couple of decades,

especially for b i g i ndo o r malls. E-tail is often cited as the reason for their de- cline, but the prob l em i s much older. One reason

Drew Romanic

is that for the last 50 years malls were built too closely together. This has hastened their decline, with some malls changing hands for pennies on the dollar. Owners who are able to adapt, may find they are sit - ting on goldmines--acres of mostly unused parking lot close to established neigh- borhoods, mass transit and interstate highways--prime for redevelopment. Singles, young couples, and empty nesters often want to live in walkable communities, close to shops, restaurants and entertainment, but such neighborhoods are in high demand and short supply. To meet the need, residential de- velopment can take the place of dying anchor stores, creat- ing a captive audience for new stores and services. Take, for example, Hunt Valley Mall north of Balti- more, Maryland. Twenty years ago, it was on life support—a bland, nearly empty shell of its former self. That’s when the owner, Greenberg Gibbons Commercial, came to Martin Architectural Group looking for a new concept. In collaboration with GGC, Martin began redevelopment by taking down the claustro- phobic indoor mall and creat- ing an outdoor main street shopping area with a Weg- mans Food Market, a cinema and restaurants. Over the last two decades, as GGC and Martin saw opportu- nities in the marketplace, they pivoted, adding office space, more restaurants, market- rate apartments, senior living and a hotel. The once desolate mall is now a vibrant 24/7 community that supports the shops, which in turn provide the walkable lifestyle that residents desire. Hunt Valley is successful because it was designed to be a fun destination. The original master plan included commu- nity gathering places around

The Residences at the Promenade at Granite Run




The Martin Architectural Group was established in 1967 with a commitment to client service and design excellence. Our diverse portfolio includes mixed-use, multi-family residential, senior living communities, retail and office designs, transit-oriented developments, master planning, and sustainable projects. We are award-winning architects and planners committed to delivering the highest quality professional services to private sector real estate development.


www.MartinAIA.com • 215.665.1080 • 240 N. 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA

Made with FlippingBook Proposal Creator