By Taylor N. Villarreal
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
The Kenilworth Mall in Towson is currently undergoing a $20 million renovation and expansion until 2018 to attract more people and bring more businesses to the local shopping center.
The renovations, which began in 2015, will add 300 jobs and will involve new retailers, entrances, seating areas, and an enhanced common area, according to Tom Fitzpatrick, the president and chief operating officer of Greenberg Gibbons, who owns the mall.
“The renovation is an opportunity to polish a community gem,” Fitzpatrick said. “Shops at Kenilworth have been a very successful community gathering place for years and in order to preserve its relevance it was time to make a few improvements.”
The renovation was needed to bring in prominent retailers and an anchor like Trader Joe’s, Fitzpatrick said.
“The renovation greatly improves a shopping center that is beloved in Baltimore County,” said County Councilman David Marks of the Fifth District. “The mall was built in the late 1970s, so it updates an aging shopping center.”
Fitzpatrick said the mall was old and not particularly inviting for shoppers.
“We submitted a renovation and development plan to the county for approval,” Fitzpatrick said. “The renovation was approved in 2015 and the expansion was approved in 2016.”
The renovation will extend 20,000 square feet and help Kenilworth compete with other malls like the Towson Town Center, Marks said.
“The renovation project has four phases,” Fitzpatrick said.
Phase one is to relocate Stebbins Anderson to the first floor and phase two is to change the upper level, and put Trader Joe’s and Kenilworth Wine & Spirits above and to put in a new mall entrance, Fitzpatrick said.
“Phase three will begin in 2017 and include the interior renovations such as new flooring, new escalators, new staircases, new railings and a more prominent entry feature on the upper level of the parking deck,” Fitzpatrick said.
Phase four involves the expansion of the center, by adding a marketplace, Fitzpatrick said.
“This renovation is a rebirth of the mall,” said Ken Knight, 66, the owner of Stebbins Anderson in Kenilworth. “We are really looking forward to it. Since most stores are run by people in Baltimore, we want this to be a local mall. This has been in the works for a few years now.”
Stebbins, being the first store to locate in the mall and in the same space since 1977, is one of the reasons many people come to the mall.
“People love hometown stores like Stebbins, and families pack the mall during the holiday season for the garden train,” Marks said.
“We are keeping some of the old traditions like the train show and yet also creating a new feel in the mall,” said Jamie Adams, 35, a client care supervisor at the store, About Faces, for 15 years.
Adams said the project is designed to bring new people and business to the mall.
“It will continue to help us grow and it is definitely modernizing the mall,” said Colleen Simmons, 25, the LaxWorld store manager. “It will bring a lot more attention to the mall.”
“Adding the right retailers to the already successful group that we currently have will create the synergy needed for a very successful retail center,” Fitzpatrick said. “The shops at Kenilworth will be a vibrant destination for shopping, dining and enjoying time with friends and family.”