Hunt Valley Towne Centre

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Hunt Valley Towne Center in Hunt Valley, Maryland

Hunt Valley Towne Centre, formerly Hunt Valley Mall, is an outdoor shopping mall in northern Baltimore County, Maryland. The name reflects the upper class patrons of the mall hailing from affluent suburbs such as Parkton, Phoenix, and Sparks. The development was constructed following the closure of Hunt Valley Mall (other than its anchor stores) in 2000. The anchor stores in existence today include Dick's Sporting Goods, Brandon's, Burlington Coat Factory, Wegmans, and Sears. Wal-Mart was located at Hunt Valley mall until late October 2007, when it moved two miles south to Cockeysville, Maryland. It was replaced by Best Buy which closed in May 2012 as part of a nationwide downsizing. Near a gazebo located in the main street area of the center, there is a memorial to Chuck Thompson.

Restaurants[edit]

A Joe's Crab Shack opened near the site of the Centre's now-closed Best Buy in the Fall of 2012, following the popularity of Joe's Abingdon, Maryland location that opened in 2011 in the same shopping center as the newly built Wegman's. A Greene Turtle restaurant and sports bar opened in 2010. Some of the other food and drink tenants include Boardwalk Fries, Burger King, Caribou Coffee, Wendy's, California Pizza Kitchen, Noodles and Company, and Panera Bread. Wegman's is also the only supermarket in the shopping center.

Shops and entertainment[edit]

In terms of entertainment, the Hunt Valley Towne Centre has Regal Cinema. Ray Lewis also has a planned bowling alley that has yet to start building. Many stores are featured such as Designer Shoe Warehouse, Five Below, Verizon, Greetings & Readings, and many other stores. A Filene's Basement used to occupy the upper floor of one of the buildings in the shopping center, but has since closed, along with Best Buy in 2012. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis's company, MVP Entertainment, planned an MVP Lanes bowling, dining and entertainment venue for a 63,000-square-foot site in the Towne Center, but that deal fell through.[1]

History[edit]

Hunt Valley Mall opened on September 17, 1981.[2] It was developed by Myles H. Tanenbaum and Kravco Company of King of Prussia, PA and designed by Leonard Kagan of RTKL Associates. Some of Hunt Valley's "sister malls" were Valley Hills Mall, Beachwood Place, White Marsh Mall, Charleston Town Center and Stratford Square Mall which it was modeled after. The mall had space for four anchor tenants but Sears and Bamberger's, which became Macy's in 1986, were the only ones to open, leading the mall to a fate that paralleled Seaview Square Mall in Ocean Township, New Jersey. Other major department stores were in negotiations with the mall such as Hutzler's, which was slated for the location across from the food court, and JCPenney. [3]Some stores included Hair Cuttery, Chess King, CVS, Piercing Pagoda, Kay Bee Toys, Sun Coast Video, Listening Booth Music, Florsheim Shoes, Hess Woman's Apparel, Art Explosion, Merry Go Round, Hudson Trail Outfitters, Deb, Paul Harris, The Wild Pair, Sir Walter Raleigh Inn and others. There were two sets of escalators. Small zigzag shaped waterfalls were at opposite ends of the mall. When Macy's closed the former space was split into Dick's and Burlington Coat Factory on the upper and lower floors, respectively, removing the elevators and escalators inside the building. Once this happened the stairs at the mall entrance were replaced with escalators which remained in place after redevelopment. Hunt Valley's official mascot was Hunter the Valley Bear. [4]

Legacy[edit]

The mall occupied land belonging to Bonnie Blink Farm, which has also been home to the Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M. of Maryland and Retirement Home located up on a hill behind the parking lot which contains ancient rock formations. The mall became the stuff of legend, as Hunt Valley possessed a strange aura unique to Baltimore. Many people have set out to find the real reason why the mall existed and if it was secretly run by Masons. Clues were supposedly hidden in architectural features such as six pyramid skylights, including the giant one above the center fountain said to contain esoteric significance.[5] The mall was known for its "prison bar" railings and was a popular hangout among teenagers, most of them students at nearby Hereford High School and Dulaney High School. All these factors contributed to its reputation and demise. As it started to develop into a punchline, common nicknames given to the mall throughout the years were "Cunt Valley", "Death Valley" and "The Mallocaust" among others. The latter name applied to both the lack of customers as well as fountains which had run dry for many years signalling the mall's closure, the former name for when the fountains were operational.[6]

Downfall[edit]

Its success over the following two decades was limited, and as a result, many of the merchants failed by the end of the 1990s. Competition from White Marsh, which opened a month earlier, as well as Golden Ring Mall, Columbia Mall, Towson Town Center and Owings Mills Mall did not help matters either. This resulted in plans being made to convert the mall into an outdoor town center with big-box stores. The controversial mall was unwelcome by the community. When plans were made for building a new mall in 1979, environmentalists protested and area residents wanted to keep the land rural. The Baltimore County executive at the time Donald Hutchinson refused to attend the opening ceremony and cut the ribbon.[7] The mall was an inspiration for the fictional "S'Wallow Valley Mall and Pizza Court" in Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie.[citation needed]


Transit connections[edit]

In 1997, the Baltimore Light Rail was extended north from its Timonium terminus to the parking lot of Hunt Valley Mall. There were hopes that this would increase business to the struggling mall. Increased lighting, security officers and off duty police were added to ward off any additional crime.[8]

Prior to the light rail's extension, the mall was served by Maryland Transit Administration Bus Route 9. Today, this route operates to the nearby International Circle.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°29′53″N 76°39′18″W / 39.49806°N 76.65500°W / 39.49806; -76.65500