Baltimore is an interesting city I started visiting back in the 1990s. It had a relatively new rail transit system with a subway line and a light rail service reaching out from the center of the city. Two of those lines terminated near enclosed malls. Those were Owings Mills and Hunt Valley and today both are defunct. Hunt Valley has long since been replaced with a lifestyle and power center and this article focuses solely on Owings Mills.
It opened in 1986 to great success and included upscale stores like Saks and Williams Sonoma. But as the years went on competing malls underwent renovations and began to draw those shoppers away. Several well publicized crimes also scared away shoppers including the murder of a mall employee as she was walking between her job and the Baltimore Metro subway station in 1992. By the 2000s the mall had a higher than average vacancy rate and the Great Recession ended any hope of a comeback.
During my 2014 trip to Bronycon, I spent most of my time hanging out with fellow forum members. But for several hours on Sunday, I was nowhere near the convention. Instead, I was taking what would be my last trip to Owings Mills Mall. The end had already been announced for that property. The landlord was going to demolish it and replace it with an open air mixed use development of apartments, office, and retail space. By then the place was almost a total ghost town with just a handful of stores and, I think, one vendor left in the food court which was presumptuously called the Conservatory. About a year later in September of 2015 the doors closed for the last time.
Here is one of Dan Bell's first Dead Mall Series entries. It lacks the vaporware music and thoroughly produced introductions that his later videos are known for. But it's still a great overview of the mall in its final months. Dan did a second video of this mall after dark and with the limited light the place looks strikingly different.
Now here's a rare peek into Owings Mills after it was formally closed. Fixtures and items were being auctioned off and thus the public was allowed in on one final occasion. Be sure to check out how it looks now.
That's it for this month. In September, I will be taking a break from dead malls to talk about another famous edifice that will soon be meeting its fate. See ya then!