Tuesday, January 15, 2013

“Tear Down This Wall”

Instead of a groundbreaking, this morning GGP held a wall bashing ceremony for the newest addition to the The Mall in Columbia.  Participants were invited to sling a sledgehammer at a drywall partition inside the former J. Crew store just off the center court to mark the beginning of the malls next phase. As the first sledgehammers hit the wall, Joan Lancos quipped “tear down this wall,” recalling Ronald Reagan's famous line from his speech at the Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987.
 In a matter of days work will commence in earnest to reopen what was originally the main entrance.
Just outside the entrance GGP will construct 70,000 square feet of new retail space along a promenade leading out to the existing fountain. Though no tenant announcements were made this morning it was disclosed that there are leases out on some of the spaces. It's never a good idea to announce a deal until everyone has signed along the dotted line.

Most of the construction will not be visible until May when the existing LL Bean store is demolished. Katie Essing, the mall manager, told me that the demolition will begin in May, shortly after the store closes.

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