LAUREL – One of the city’s potentially biggest money makers is almost completely finished.
The Towne Centre at Laurel is the city’s newest retail, dining and entertainment destination. Formerly Laurel Mall, the Towne Centre is strategically located at the intersection of Route 1 and Cherry Lane.
Greenberg Gibbons, a local developer of “mixed-use, town center and retail properties”, is heading the redevelopment of the property.
The $130 million project began in 2012 with the demolition of the 31-year-old Laurel Mall. The owners of the former Laurel Mall contacted Greenberg Gibbons to redevelop and rebuild on the existing property.
Tom Fitzpatrick, president of Greenberg Gibbons said the original concept was to renovate the existing mall and the existing format.
Over time, Fitzpatrick said, the indoor shopping complex was no longer relevant to the marketplace.
“There was nothing wrong with the location”, said Fitzpatrick. “The only thing that needed changing was the format.”
Instead of a shopping mall, Karl Brendle, director of community planning and business services for Laurel city government, said the new town center will be more integrated into the community.
“There will be sidewalks, people can walk to it and they have bike racks,” said Brendle.
The Towne Centre at Laurel is expected to bring in revenue of more than $100 million and bring more than 1,500 jobs to the area.
“We are excited for Towne Centre at Laurel to become the great destination that this community has patiently waited for and deserves,” said Fitzpatrick.
City officials have the same excitement. “We’ve needed it [Towne Centre] for a longtime, we’re looking forward to the energy that it is going to bring to Laurel,” said Alicia Fields, a business services administrator for the city.
The positive vibes have attracted more people to live in the city, said Rev. Marquez Ball, who is the lead pastor at the new Uplift Church in Laurel.
“A lot of young professionals are moving to Laurel,” he said.
His church is opening, he said, because there were no “mega-churches” in the area.
“Laurel is experiencing an economic uplift, with new residents and businesses; we want to bring a spiritual uplift as well,” Ball said.
The Towne Centre is estimated to be complete by November.