First it was Borders Books, closing as part of its bankruptcy filing. Then Bruno Cipriani, the classy Italian menswear firm, announced its plans to close and move to a new location. Then Bloomingdale’s disclosed in January that White Flint was on its list of planned closures. But, more store have started leaving including most recently, Godiva Chocolate.
Which will be the next store to pull out of the White Flint Mall, scheduled to close in 2014 for a total ‘revamp’ and re-creation as a multi-use town center?
When walking through White Flint these days, there's an increasing number of vacant storefronts and seemingly a smaller number of customers.
Bruno Cipriani remains open, but will close its White Flint store within the next few months and move to a new location in Chevy Chase, retail sources told Patch.
In all fairness, many stores look likely to stay.
H&M, the trendy Swedish retailer, plans to open three new stores: in Chevy Chase (Friendship Heights), downtown Silver Spring and on King Street in Alexandria in October. But it plans to remain at White Flint, according to the store manager.
Pottery Barn consolidated at White Flint early this year after closing its store at the Chevy Chase Pavilion in Friendship Heights, so a quick exit there appears unlikely.
Asked to provide an exact number of vacancies at the mall, spokeswoman Karen Doyne, of Burson-Marsteller for Lerner Enterprises, responded with a general comment on the forthcoming transition process.
“The redevelopment of the mall requires an extended planning and approval process,” Doyne stated in an e-mail to Patch Thursday evening. “As such we don’t have a specific timetable for the transition.
“We will continue to manage and operate a first class, high fashion, regional shopping mall,” she added.
Plans for the future of White Flint have been presented in outline form. They appear intriguing, though they are difficult to envision given the current look and feel of the place.
In a nutshell, Lerner and the Tower companies plan to convert the 31-acre site into a completely new multi-use town center with a ‘Central Piazza’ like those found in Italian villages, as reported previously by Patch.
The revamped site will cover 52 million square feet and include commercial buildings, a 300-room hotel and residential buildings. Urban planners suggest the area will look more like Bethesda 15 to 20 years from now.
The existing mall is on three levels and covers 800,000 square feet, so much of the new development will be in what now are the mall's parking lots.
What do you think? Will these grandiose plans work? Or is this pie-in-the sky? And which will be the next store to pull out of White Flint? And the last to turn out the lights?