Laurel Mall is a shopping mall located on the west side of U.S. Route 1 in Laurel, Maryland. The mall was opened in 1979 and connected two pre-existing structures – the freestanding Montgomery Ward on its south side and Laurel Shopping Center to the north.
The mall was first named Laurel Centre Mall and included two anchor stores, Montgomery Ward and JCPenney, with a third anchor, Hecht's, added in 1981. The 167,000-square-foot (15,500 m2) Montgomery Ward store opened for business on April 16, 1969. The 83,000-square-foot (7,700 m2) JCPenney store opened in 1979, with the 265,000-square-foot (24,600 m2) Laurel Centre expansion. The Hecht Company moved its store from its previous location in the Laurel Shopping Center. In 1991, the 662,000-square-foot (61,500 m2) mall received a $2 million face lift and update. Though small in comparison with most malls today, Laurel Mall has two levels and, when it opened, had modern innovations such as a rotating circular platform with four small stores in the center, and a glass-sided walkway over a roadway and parking lot between JCPenney and the Laurel Shopping Center.
In recent years, the Mall has been in decline. Many stores which were once staples of the mall, such as JCPenney and Montgomery Ward, have closed and given way to more "mom and pop" retail spaces. As a result, business at the mall has dwindled. Today, a Burlington Coat Factory occupies most of the former Montgomery Ward space. Macy's has replaced Hecht's. On two occasions, sections of the aging parking decks have crumbled and fallen onto the parking lots below, resulting in their closure.
In 2006, the mall fell into receivership and was sold to Somera Capital Management, which owns and operates many malls across the nation, for $31 million. Somera hired General Growth Properties, which owns and operates nearby Columbia Mall to redevelop the space. Renovation plans were unveiled to the public on January 30, 2007, at Laurel City Hall. The plans include a new 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) anchor, a 16-screen Regal Theaters with stadium seating, a two-story bookstore, a new food court, restaurants with sidewalk dining (including Mimi's Cafe), new national and regional shops, a new parking deck, a redesigned exterior of bricks and stones, and a new interior. The redesigned mall will receive a new name, "Laurel Commons," and will be accompanied by luxury apartments and a grocery store on the mall property. The first phase of the project is scheduled to begin construction in 2009.
Macy's (the former Hecht's)
Burlington Coat Factory (since 2001, replaced Wards)