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cartomanlex

Lexington Mall redevelopment

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The Lexington Mall property has sat vacant for nearly three years, and the number of shops in the mall had dwindled steadily in quantity and quality for quite a while before that - while Home Depot has survived a contentious lawsuit just to keep something going in the aging center. The local franchiser of Applebee's had very though time preparing to build their latest flagship restaurant. B.F.Saul Co. has been said to be difficult to deal with, but people believe that there is potential at this location.

All I can say for certain is that something is going to happen soon. Rumors are flying that the demolition of the existing building will happen this summer. I have heard that the "water feature" in the front will be filled in, and that's OK with me, but the city may have plans for the old stream bank. (The majority of the property was part of the original resevoir built in the 1880's.) A Wal-mart neighborhood grocery has also been mentioned for this site. Whatever is proposed will be better than what is there now, a decaying shell of a building that can't be paying much in the way of taxes.

If you go to the B.F.Saul Properties website, you can see that they are trying to lease the property as a re-development project. I have read that many old mall developments are changing to "lifestyle centers", a mix of residential and commercial with a "new urbanism" feel and shape. This could be a prime candidate for that kind of a re-do. Can't you see it now? 30 acres of a "Chevy Chase" style shopping area. Small sidewalk cafes/bistros with European style(not American style apartment flats)? A real deli or produce market? A couple of small streets weaving a fabric of live/work spaces and true walkability? Parking could be in a structure near the entrance from New Circle Rd. The grade change of the northwest corner would give a high point for three or four story residential units with a view of the lake. This site could also be a stop on a mass transit/streetcar route from downtown.

I would be a shame to let this great possibility go to waste, but I guess it will if we let conventional thinking continue.

What do you think...

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There is certainly a ton of potential there that I would hate to see it wasted on a "lifestyle center" as they've been built at Fayette Mall and Hamburg. I dont feel like that's what you're talking about but sadly projects like the ones you're describing often get scaled back to little more than glorified strip malls.

I'd like to see that building go and something done to ring the Home Depot property with buildings and landscaping so as to hide it from view as much as possible.

I think there's a lot of potential for a mixed use retail/office/residential development, perhaps even a hotel in the mix. I'd also like to see plenty of trees and green roofs to help it blend in with the tree lined reservoir across the street. I'm a little cynical about this project though because I dont trust Saul one bit to do a good job with the property.

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i like lifestyle centers. they are much better than malls in my opinion. i think with lexington's high class, they could maybe get a few more higher class stores. lexington, i don't think, is fully utilizing their potential as a high class city. their restaurant scene for a city of its size (and growing) is rather dull. they can definitely attract higher class eateries and stores in their malls.

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Not only that but we need more unique and locally owned retail and restaurants. Downtown has apretty good stock but also spread out through the campus are and the rest of the city.

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What I would like is a "lifestyle center" based upon what Chevy Chase used to look like, should have developed into and didn't.

Three or four storied buildings with little or no parking, except for on street locations(and maybe not even that). Think of a few blocks similar to N. Mill St. with Rosebud, Goodfellas and Cheapsides and the like.

If you need parking, then have one block of it. But not surface parking, a parking garage hidden behind retail or residential. Think Center Court, only with retail on two or more sides. This should be a walk-to commercial area with people walking from the adjoining neighborhoods(ala Chevy Chase and Romany Road Shoppes).

There could be many activities in this 30 acres. Do you realize that at one time in Chevy Chase that there were two hardware stores, three groceries, five gas stations, two drug stores, four liquor stores, a five-and-dime, three barbers/beauticians and a movie theater. Not to mention numerous restaurant and bars that catered to the University crowd. Many of the places were small storefronts, right on the street, with residential above. The kind that you just pop in and out of, no long shopping for everything in the world in one spot. You could get all that you wanted on one shopping trip, just not at one store. The streetcar would run out High St to Hanover that could get you to town in just a few minutes.

That is what I want to see us get back to

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A couple of things. First, it is totally unrealistic to build a shopping center/apartment complex with no parking. No bank, investor, store of renter would go for it. Not to mention the city. That doesn't mean it has to be auto dominated or oriented, but acting like the car doesn't exist won't work either.

Second, Saul is impossible to deal with. Lots of people, including me, have attempted to contact them about purchasing the mall to no avail. I have a feeling they had a really bad lease with Dillards and so they ran the place out of business in order to get out of it. Just guessing, but it wouldn't be the first time something like this has happened.

While I would absolutely love to see a mixed use, high end center go in, I doubt it happens. They would have to get it rezoned for one, and secondly these type of projects are hard to put together. They are very capitol intensive and retailers are still sceptical, though they are getting better.

At this point I would take about anything other than what it is, but I hate to see such an opportunity wasted. It is basically the only large(20+ acres) infill site in the city and it very well located. It could be something pretty fantastic, but unfortunately, I doubt it happens.

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...it is totally unrealistic to build a shopping center/apartment complex with no parking..

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I didn't say "No parking", I said -limited street parking, hidden parking, structured parking,- just NO sea of parking LOT. Parking lots are a waste of valuable space.

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I agree the above statement, but to be fair this is what you said:

'Three or four storied buildings with little or no parking, except for on street locations(and maybe not even that). '

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