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The Mall in Columbia

The Mall in Columbia
Location 10300 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Maryland, U.S.
Opening date 1971
Developer The Rouse Company
Owner General Growth Properties
No. of stores and services 202
No. of anchor tenants 7
Total retail floor area 1,400,000 sq ft (130,000 m2)
No. of floors 2
Parking 7,200 spaces, including 3 parking garages
Website .com.TheMallInColumbiawww

The Mall in Columbia, also known as the Columbia Mall, or The Mall, is the central shopping mall for the planned community of Columbia, Maryland, United States. It has five anchor department stores (Sears, JCPenney, Nordstrom, Macy's, and Lord & Taylor) and over 200 specialty stores. It includes a 14-screen AMC Theatres.[1] The mall is located in the Town Center area of the city and attracts shoppers from surrounding counties in Maryland.


  • History 1
    • Key dates 1.1
    • 2014 shooting 1.2
  • Anchors 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The Mall in Columbia, interior view, original section

Architect Frank Gehry designed The Rouse Company Columbia exhibit building, and was initially selected to design the neighboring mall centerpiece. Gehry was later rejected by Rouse for lack of experience, and the firm of Cope, Linder, & Walmsley was contracted for the project.[2]

The Mall opened in 1971 with two major anchor stores: Hochschild Kohn's (which was replaced by Hecht's in the mid-1970s) and Woodward & Lothrop (a.k.a. Woodies, which closed in late 1995 and was replaced by JCPenney in July 1996[3]), as well as a McCrory's and Lerner's, which were minor anchors. Howard Research and Development was probed shortly after opening for purchasing bulk energy contracts on electricity while charging market rates to tenants.[4]

The Mall has undergone several major expansions since its opening, with the Sears wing opening in 1981, along with an expansion of approximately 370,000 square feet (34,000 m2) and about 55 specialty stores.[5]

In 1997, the Hecht's store (now Macy's) added a third level. The Lord & Taylor wing opened in November 1998 (along with two new parking garages); the Nordstrom wing opened in September 1999. Also at this time, 20 to 30 stores opened in a new 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) wing near Hecht's. The interior was renovated by replacing the floors, lighting, skylights and air conditioning units by the end of 1998.[6]

A Cheesecake Factory restaurant opened on The Mall property near the movie theaters in late 2005. The Mall's Hecht's store became Macy's on September 9, 2006.[7]

The Mall is operated by General Growth Properties, which acquired it from the Rouse Company in 2004.[8]

A December 2007 decision by local General Growth Properties managers to abandon The Mall's traditional "Poinsettia Tree" Christmas display sparked a grassroots movement by several hundred Columbia residents for the return of the display which had come to be viewed as a local tradition. The story was picked up by The Washington Post,[8] and the publicity led mall managers to reverse their decision and return the popular display in 2008.[9] Part of what makes the "tree" unique is its watering system and plant specifications.[10]

In early 2013, construction began on an addition to the outdoor "Plaza at The Mall in Columbia" to replace the L.L. Bean store (which closed in May 2013) with additional stores and restaurants. The first phase of the outdoor expansion opened in November 2013.

Key dates

  • 1971: The Mall in Columbia opens in August.[11]
  • 1981: A new wing that includes a second food court and Sears is added.[11]
  • 1998: Lord & Taylor opens along with two new parking garages.[11]
  • 1999: A new wing that includes 40 stores, a third parking garage, and Nordstrom is added.[11]
  • 2000: L.L. Bean opens outside of the mall. It is the first store to open in "The Plaza at The Mall in Columbia" and only the third retail location for the Maine-based outdoors catalog company.[11]
  • 2001: P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Z'Tejas (replaced by Uno Chicago Grill in 2004), and Champps Restaurant & Bar opens in "The Plaza at The Mall in Columbia".[11]
  • 2003: AMC Theatres opens a 14-screen movie theater next to Champps Restaurant.[11]
  • 2013: L.L. Bean closes and makes way for an expansion of the Mall's outdoor plaza.
  • 2014: 70,000 square-foot outdoor expansion to the mall opens.[12]

2014 shooting

On January 25, 2014, at around 11:15 a.m., 19-year-old Darion Marcus Aguilar entered a Zumiez store on the second floor of the mall, armed with a Mossberg 500 12-gauge shotgun with a pistol grip, and fired six to nine shots, killing two employees—21-year-old Brianna Benlolo and 25-year-old Tyler Johnson—and injuring five others before committing suicide. Police arrived within two minutes to find an extensive amount of ammunition and crude explosive devices next to Aguilar's body, which were disabled safely. All of the injured were treated and later discharged from the Howard County General Hospital.[13][14][15][16]

Police searched Aguilar's house, seizing computers, documents and other items, including a journal in which Aguilar allegedly expressed a "general unhappiness" with his life.[17]

Aguilar had previously raced in the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon, and in the Montgomery County Public Schools' senior directory he listed his future plans as Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland.[18][19] He graduated from James Hubert Blake High School, Silver Spring, Maryland, in June 2013.[20]



  1. ^ "Directory". The Mall in Columbia. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  2. ^ Joshua Olsen (April 2004). Better Places, Better Lives: A Biography of James Rouse. p. 213.  
  3. ^ "SEVEN J.C. PENNEYS TO OPEN IN D.C. AREA", Charleston Daily Mail (West Virginia), News; Pg. 04D, July 16, 1996
  4. ^ John Walsh (22 September 1972). "Electricity Probe Set in MD". The Washington Post. 
  5. ^ O'Neill, Alison. "New Paint, More Space for Area Malls", The Washington Post, p. 1, October 18, 1982
  6. ^ Leibowitz, Elissa."Getting Fancy at the Mall; Columbia Adding Upscale Stores, Parking", The Washington Post, p.1 ,September 17, 1998
  7. ^ Mui, Ylan Q., "Era Ends With New Beginning;Transformation From Hecht's to Macy's Will Be Completed Today", (a general story about the Hecht's to Macy's transition) The Washington Post, Financial; D01, September 9, 2006
  8. ^ a b Fisher, Marc (December 13, 2007). "In Columbia, Mall Management Doesn't See the Point of Poinsettias". The Washington Post. p. B01. Retrieved 30 December 2008. 
  9. ^ Broadwater, Jennifer (November 20, 2008). Poinsettia tree' is back at the mall"'". The Columbia Flier. Retrieved 30 December 2008. 
  10. ^ Fisher, Marc (December 24, 2007). "Columbia's Poinsettia Tree: The Inside Story". Retrieved 30 December 2008. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "Columbia Mall Timeline". Columbia Flier. 2004-09-16. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  12. ^ "Mall in Columbia holds grand opening for open-air plaza". The Baltimore Sun. 17 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  13. ^ "Three Dead in Shooting at Maryland Mall; Police Call the Episode Isolated".  
  14. ^ "'"Chaos described at Maryland mall: 'There's a shooter!.  
  15. ^ "Shooting at Columbia, Md., mall leaves 3 dead".  
  16. ^ "Police: 2 store employees, gunman dead at Maryland mall".  
  17. ^ "Police ID Maryland mall shooter".  
  18. ^ "Senior Directory" (PDF).  
  19. ^ "Darion Aguilar". 
  20. ^ "Police ID assailant in Columbia mall shooting".  
  21. ^ The Mall in Columbia - Top Stores, Shops, Brands in Columbia, Maryland

External links

  • Official website
  • The Mall in Columbia at the Wayback Machine (archived March 3, 2000)
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