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Mall Redevelopment Plans Approved

The plan calls for an additional 43,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space to be added to the mall.

General Growth Properties' plan to add 43,500 square feet of new retail and restaurant space to the was approved unanimously by the Howard County Planning Board at their meeting on Thursday.

The plan would create additional space for new tenants as well as a pedestrian connection to the Lakefront.

The the removal of 31,500 square feet of current space, which would include the L.L. Bean store, 63 parking spaces behind L.L. Bean and the Nordstrom Deck. Then the addition of 75,000 square feet of new restaurant and retail space would be added.

James Whitcome, senior development director for GGP, said L.L Bean was interested in downsizing their facility and would move into a smaller store after the development is finished.

"The proposed expansion is an opportunity for us to bring in new retailers that will satisfy and exceed our shoppers's expectations," wrote Kate Essing, the general manager of the Mall in Columbia, in an email. "In addition, working within Columbia’s approved Master Plan and as a leading community partner, we strive to make the Mall more pedestrian friendly by connecting the center to the Lakefront area."

Representatives of GGP said Downtown Columbia Plan requirements such as amenitity space, bike lanes, public art and road improvements would be expanded on in greater detail as part of the site development plan, the next step in the approval process before construction can begin.

A presubmission meeting for the community to weigh in on the site development plan is scheduled for July 24 at 6:30 p.m. in room 400 of the Rouse student services building at .

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