Real Estate Journal — Shopping Centers — September 26 - October 9, 2014 — 5C


M id A tlantic

S hopping C enters

By Drew Romanic, The Martin Architectural Group, P.C. RE-Visioning the mall: A Martin Pastime


tion provides the most critical place making character for the shopping experience as a whole. When the Martin Architec- tural Group is called upon to reposition an existing asset and create a new image, we work hand in hand with the develop- er, interpreting their vision for the property’s use and aesthetic, while remaining focused on the economics of the architecture. We take full advantage of the buildings themselves as sym- bols and indicators of spaces and functions within a project, aiming to optimize the overall square footage and improve the value of the remaining space by re-mixing the tenants and

upgrading the amenities. A successful mix of national and local tenants provides sustain- able support for the project, while including park-like areas encourages pedestrian use and enhances the vitality of the site. We approach each new project by first determining what would best support and enrich the existing community. Different techniques and applications are employed depending on the overall project size, site loca- tion, topographical challenges or advantages, parking require- ments, density studies, and the dependence or independence of automobile use. A complete scrape-off and

redevelopment of the site al- lows for the most flexibility and opportunity to re-vision the mall into any type of mixed-use development. Martin recently planned and executed a demo- lition of the failed Laurel Mall in Laurel, MD. For nearly a decade, the mall fell to a second and third tier destination, and suffered from modern competi- tion. Our firm worked with the client to plan a complete demoli- tion and re-visioning of the site as a grocer and cinema anchored outdoor shopping center. The final portion of the dynamic mixed-use project includes 450 high-density residential apart- ments.

A partial demolition usually includes the removal of a failed indoor mall or large anchors, and introduces in their place dining, entertainment (cinema, theater, or even sports arena), boutique shops, junior anchors, and large box retail. The goal at hand is to create a walkable out- door main street around a public green to support the mixed-use site. Hunt Valley Towne Centre in Cockeysville, MD exemplifies this strategy. A major portion of the existing Hunt Valley Mall was demolished to make way for a horse-shoe shaped main street, flanked by two story retail and dining experiences. continued on page 11C

he Martin Architec- tural Group has been creating public spaces,

private resi- dences, and multi-family r e s i d e n t i a l for nearly five decades. Dur- ing our im- pressive ten- ure, we have blended retail,

Drew Romanic

commercial, and residential uses to create new master- planned communities. One way in which we do this is by reinventing previously vibrant spaces which have fallen into disrepair or complacency. Frequently, and with greater speed, regional malls find them- selves in this category. Malls were planned and developed too close together, eventually leading to the demise of several in each regional marketplace. Malls are a part of our culture and will never completely leave the fabric of our towns, how- ever many existing properties require evolution and the in- clusion of new design concepts which will allow them to once again become vibrant and ac- cessible properties. Many of these regional malls are located near major, con- trolled-access highways and surrounded by residential sub- divisions. These neighborhoods have no real Main Street or downtown like their predeces- sors from previous eras. Failed mall sites have the opportunity to become a Main Street for these neighborhoods. The style and aesthetic of the spaces rec- reated become just as important as the mix of uses that are in- troduced to the property. This re-visioning of a mall can take on many facets, from maintain- ing and upgrading the original retail and dining, to crafting a new community center for an evolving suburban village. Not all mall properties are able to garner upscale soft goods or five star restaurants; however the success of the new or reinvented image of the property depends on the blend of purveyors of goods and services. The build- ings, as well as the spaces cre- ated between and connecting them, must work together to foster a common community identity. These spaces provide access to café style dining, farm- ers’ markets, carnivals, outdoor entertainment, and special events, and invite the surround- ing residents to become part of their community. This connec-


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, and sustainable projects. We are award-winning architects and planners committed to delivering the highest quality professional services to private sector real estate development. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PLAN

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

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