Frederick Towne Mall

The Frederick Towne Mall site.

Go-karts, a video arcade, a bowling alley and a trampoline park could potentially be coming to the vacant Frederick Towne Mall under its new name, District 40.

The project, named after U.S. 40, is expected to become a premier entertainment center. Faraz Cheema, real estate agent at Coldwell Banker Commercial, said that negotiations with potential tenants are underway, but are still in the early stages.

The first tenant, Warehouse Cinemas, has signed a lease and is expected to open next summer. The theater will be about 40,000 square feet, leaving approximately 300,000 square feet left to fill.

Home Depot, which is connected to the old mall, is technically not included in the property. Cheema said that Boscov’s still has a lease, but he could not disclose further details.

The only roadblock to acquiring more tenants is getting the space rezoned. It was zoned general commercial with conditions when a Walmart Supercenter was expected to come there in 2013, said David Newman, president of the Golden Mile Alliance. But now that a Walmart isn’t coming, the building needs to be zoned general commercial.

Warehouse Cinemas’ lease was not dependent on that rezoning. The city of Frederick’s Planning Commission will vote on the rezoning at its meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

An entertainment center is something that’s missing from Frederick, Cheema said. “With these other tenants, if we do lock them [down], it would be a huge breath of fresh air for Frederick,” Cheema said. “Instead of local residents traveling to the D.C. or Baltimore area, we really want to entertain the local residents so they don’t have to leave the city or the county.”

The mall was, for a long time, the anchor of the Golden Mile, and its revitalization could bring the area back with it. It could also help boost the local economy, said Newman.

“Getting the mall fixed up into something other than a vacant building is going be a huge boost for the whole area, absolutely,” Newman said. “It’s going to draw more traffic, and you know, other businesses are going to pop up all around it.”

Cheema and his real estate team have been working closely with the Golden Mile Alliance on the project.

“We certainly do support the effort of changing the mall into an entertainment destination,” Newman said. “We think it’s a great idea and we think it’s going to be very successful.”

If an entertainment center were to move in, it could also boost tourism, Cheema said. Visitors from West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania, who could also be short of entertainment options, might come to Frederick to spend a day or night. In tandem with downtown Frederick, visitors would have plenty of destinations and activities to choose from.

Mayor Michael O’Connor supports the project as well. He said that while the nature of retail has definitely changed over the years, the businesses that have succeeded have more of a destination feel to them.

“That remains a very important commercial corridor, and the opportunity for this project to demonstrate that viability is a very important step for the city.”

Follow Erika Riley on Twitter:

@ej_riley.

(50) comments

dancing donna

Abandoned malls are not good for any town. I hope some people can bring this large and potentially successful space back to life.

wscjr

Frederick County has a 'large' entertainment venue, Adventure Land. However, I'm not sure their business plan has been as successful as hoped, nor drawn significant numbers of out of town visitors, but I would think their experience should be included in the Golden Mile viability study. With regard to specific potential activities: Go-Carts...inside or outside noise abatement issues would have to be addressed and if inside, significant OSHA requirements (i.e. costs) for ventilation (unless the Go-Carts are "Green" and Electronic). [beam]; Ice Rink, Climbing Walls, Escape Rooms etc., Frederick has these types of venues now so why reduce revenues for those small Business Owners? Instead, have the greater-Frederick County Community and other interested parties opine on what type of goods and/or services (of any variety, not just sports and entertainment) they would like to receive and most importantly regularly support well beyond the first year or two of operations, given the supposed zoning changes requiring change and the significant costs to develop, remodel, bring into compliance and everything else to see this become a reality. Just some random thoughts.

Charlotte Edens

"District 40". Now that's the oddest name I've ever heard for a former shopping mall. Sounds like what you'd call an escape room - maybe there will be room for one in the complex.

huskycats

You never know Marwin, stranger things have happened. Besides, sounds like a lot of other people feel the same way.

Lev928

More like District 9.

user2403

That was my first thought when I saw the name -I guess nobody on the planning commission has seen that movie.

Joey Pesto

Talk is cheap. That mall has been vacant so long it would take a miracle, and a heck of a lot of money, to restore it. Next year at this same time it will be another story of promises and nothing will have changed.

viperch25

dumb name "district 40" sounds like something a hipster would say. just stick with golden mile. that's what everyone calls it already. otherwise i look forward to it. if it ever happens this has the same feeling of when walmart was suppose to come, and revitalize the the area, and we all saw what happened with that

Marwin3105

Yeah, just stick with Golden Mile.. Because that's worked well for the past 15 years. Sheesh, God forbid something new is attempted that just might tap into current trends and entertainment possibilities. Also, just FYI, "hipsters" may just have the disposable income that the name "District 40" and "Warehouse Cinema" would attract.

mrnatural1

What's planned doesn't interest my wife and I, but I hope it is very successful.

When I bought my place in 1985, the mall was always packed with people and most businesses along Route 40 did very well. We're only a few miles from the 'Golden Mile', and used to do a lot of our shopping there. It's been sad to see the area go downhill -- hopefully the planned entertainment center will be the spark it needs.

huskycats

Let's see, District 40 and the Warehouse. If I was driving by with names like that on marquees I'd keep going. Neither one is very inviting.

Marwin3105

I'm sure the developers and business owners will take your suggestions under advisement as you undoubtedly must fall into their targeted and desired demographic. Right, huskycats?

mdfishingboy

Great Idea!!

Dumb Name???

threecents

Let us know when we can buy District 40 hats and t-shirts.

armillary

The "District 40" name doesn't capture essence of a place designed to siphon the disposable income from the local community. How about "40 Thieves" instead? As in, "Hey Mom, can I have a couple twenties and you drop me off at 40 Thieves?"

Rockfish

[thumbup]

rpkrauss

I like this idea I just hope they reconsider the name. “District 40” sounds like the title of a science fiction movie depicting a dystopian future in which aliens are... oh I’m sorry that’s District 9.

threecents

You can see inside the mall from some of the windows in Boscovs, and it is like a dystopian future. I think they process soylent green in there.

rpkrauss

😃

Rockfish

[thumbup]

user2403

[thumbup]

francesca_easa

Good ideas but also need to bring in family oriented activities. We need a better ice rink, an indoor swimming center, rock climbing walls, a natural medicine place for acupuncture and massages. You should also call the Koreans who own Spa Worlf in Centrevillr, VA. That sould be a great addition. And perhaps hydropnic farming ggv on a second story.

sevenstones1000

I think the ice rink is an excellent idea.

shiftless88

We already have, what, two sheets of ice? For a community of this size I doubt you will support more

francesca_easa

My son is an ice hockey player and referee. The Frederick rink is in serious need of repairs, and has the most terrible odor of any rink we have patronized the past 20 years. So yes a new, cleaner and more modern rink would be appreciated.

shiftless88

But why would someone build a new rink when one exists? Sure, it may need repairs but a rink is a rink. If you are interested, perhaps you should invest.

shiftless88

There is indoor swimming at FSK. When was the last time you patronized that business?

francesca_easa

Last I checked, it was a swimming school.

threecents

There's a pool at FSK?? Since when?

shiftless88

Long time; on one of the side hallways close to Macy's

user2403

I second the idea of Spa World, that place is amazing.

Reader1954

in the last trip to FSK mall there were more than 10 empty store spaces

sevenstones1000

FSK is nearly deserted. It’s shocking to go there.

But then, I’m old enough to remember when malls destroyed our beautiful downtown department stores - so I’m not all that sorry to see malls die. It’s about time.

Reader1954

considering retail malls seem to be going away this could be an interesting concept

mikec

Interesting concept, but I don't know if it's unique. Adventure Park, in New Market, kind of already has a lot what's envisioned here.

FCPS-Principal

Just read and re-read the silly ideas in this letter. A "premier" entertainment center consisting of go-carts, video games and trampolines! Ridiculous! "We really want to entertain the local residents so they don’t have to leave the city." Pure bunk. They want locals to waste their money here because they know no one else will. "If an entertainment center were to move in, it could also boost tourism." Sure it would! Every tourist from around the nation who comes to visit the National Mall will say, "While we're here, after the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery of Art, let's drive to Frederick and play video games and ride go-carts!"

mr_twist27

Always so negative

Marwin3105

Nonsense comment, FCPS-Principal. Thanks for meeting the low expectations we all have for your "contributions". (1) This is an article, not a "letter", (2) You seem to be fixated on "the way things were" and incredibly resistant to the changing market demands, (3) you don't have to participate. These are great ideas that will help to improve the area and serve as an anchor to revitalization. I suppose you would prefer that the whole area become desolate.

threecents

An entertainment center is probably not geared to the museum crowd, but I see your point. What even is a trampoline park? Anyway, an indoor entertainment center sounds good... Just about anything would be an improvement.

niceund

Could be a great idea if handled correctly. Right now all I see is a hangout and more problems for police. Hopefully that will not be the case.

FCPS-Principal

You think no one is going to hangout and smoke pot at the video arcade? Think again.

mr_twist27

Smoking pot isn't a crime

threecents

It is if it is not medical.

Marwin3105

Again, confirming your provincial bias and NIMBY bona fides. I'm surprised you didn't refer to marijuana as "wacky tabaccy"..

Frayou

Agree. This was a factory which led to deterioration of the former Mall. Vagrants, groups of undesirables hanging around entranced as well as inside could not be managed by the Mall security. I began avoiding it.

Thewheelone

Frayou, I lived near there for over 30 years and nobody in my family, kids included ever had an issue with anyone there. Perhaps the problem for you is you focus on “undesirables.” What exactly does an “undesirable” look like?

Dwasserba

[thumbup]wheel We just walked past that big sign at the back entrance many times without ever encountering anyone breaking any of its stated rules about hoodies and such. But it was a bad impression at an entrance.

Frayou

With regards to questioning focus of an undesirable. Had little to do with appearances. But rather than some person or group shouting profanity to one another while I am taking my young children Christmas shopping for their Mom. Once was too often after having to explain for this irresponsible behaviors.

armillary

Oh yeah, it was like a jungle in the Stride Rite store. Is that what you're saying?

threecents

I took my kids there a lot and never felt uncomfortable, other than the weird feeling of an almost deserted mall with half the stores closed. There were some strange stores in there toward the end. There was one called something like the $5.47 Store. There were even cheaper stores that sold suspect candy. I think the Hallmark Store was the last to stay open. I miss the mall that was, but now it feels creepy. Someone was planning to film a horror movie in there. I wonder what came of that.

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