Real Estate Journal — Owners, Developers & Managers — Architects & Engineers — April 26 - May 9, 2019 — 9B


M id A tlantic

Architects & Engineers

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


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

connection 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 developer, 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 proj- ect by first determining what would best support and enrich the existing community. Differ- ent 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 allows for the most flexibility and oppor- tunity to re-vision the mall into any type of mixed-use develop- ment. Martin recently planned and executed a demolition 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 competition. Our firm worked with the client to plan a complete demolition and re- visioning of the site as a grocer and cinema anchored outdoor shopping center. The final por-

tion of the dynamic mixed-use project includes 450 high-density residential apartments. 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 outdoor 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 continued on page 10B

private resi- dences, and multi-family res ident i a l f o r n e a r l y five decades. During our impr es s i ve tenure , we have blended

Drew Romanic

retail, commercial, and residen- tial 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 great- er speed, regional malls find themselves in this category. Malls were planned and devel- oped too close together, even- tually 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, however many exist- ing properties require evolution and the inclusion of new design concepts which will allow them to once again become vibrant and accessible 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 aMain Street for these neighborhoods. The style and aesthetic of the spaces recreated become just as important as the mix of uses that are introduced to the property. This re-visioning of a mall can take on many facets, from maintaining and upgrading the original retail and dining, to crafting a new com- munity 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 buildings, as well as the spaces created between and connecting them, must work together to foster a common com- munity identity. These spaces provide access to café style din- ing, farmers’ markets, carnivals, outdoor entertainment, and special events, and invite the surrounding residents to become part of their community. This

MARTIN ARCHITECTURAL 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. ARCHITECTS AND LAND PLANNERS IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PLAN tm

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