Matthew Terry's Commentary:

Posted December 10, 2021 (user submitted May 12, 2012)

Marley Station Mall is a large, 2-story mall opened in 1987 in Glen Burnie, MD, south of Baltimore.

This mall was a bad idea right from the beginning. Problems arose even before the mall was built, as the developers couldn't secure the frontage property on MD 2. They had to buy a small liquor store, 2 private homes and a little hot dog stand. One homeowner refused to sell and the hot dog stand wouldn't budge, despite being offered a sweet deal in the new mall food court. In the end, the house stayed, partially blocking the view of the mall from MD 2, and the hot dog stand traded some of its land, so the main entrance of the mall could line up with an existing traffic light, for a large parking area behind it. There were many other problems as well. First, it was built in an area already oversaturated with retail, with the Harundale and Glen Burnie malls to the north, both of which it effectively killed, and about 10 miles of strip centers to the south along MD 2. It was assumed that stores all along the corridor would relocate to the new mall. That, largely, never happened. Second, the developers either misread or completely ignored the demographics of the area. A largely blue-collar area, there was money, but it was from union tradesmen, who like Sears and Wal-Mart, not the 3-story Hecht's and Macy's that were the mall's original anchors. The mall also opened with a Godiva chocolatier, a furrier, a vegetarian eatery, and numerous high-end stores. It also opened with only about 80% occupancy, a number it would never reach again. In addition, the tight parcel that the mall was built on necessitated that it fold in on itself, like a scorpion tail, which made for short hallways with no long sightlines. This made it very easy to get turned around or lost. In addition, the Macy's was put out on a wing that branched off from the main mall, so you couldn't walk from one end to the other. The decor didn't help much either. It featured lots of neon and didn't really look classy enough to support its tenants. Most of the high end shoppers from Severna Park visited once and returned to Annapolis Mall where they had always been shopping. It also didn't help that the mall opened just as the recession if 1988 hit and hurt all retail. Since then, the mall gained two new anchors in areas that were set aside for future development. It got a nice 2-story JC Penney and Sears moved from an old, freestanding store further north. Both stores are more in line with the demographics of the area and helped somewhat. Federated (Macy's) bought Hecht's and abandoned their store to consolidate in the smaller Hecht's space. The Macy's was briefly a Boscov's until that chain realized they were overextended and closed the store. The old 3-story Macy's currently sits vacant. As the current recession wore on, most chains closed underperforming stores, and they usually included Marley Station, leaving many vacancies. A Gold's Gym moved into both floors, right off of Hecht's/Macy's.

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