With Target’s shelves empty and its doors shuttered at Mondawmin Mall, Mayor Catherine Pugh has another idea in mind to bring new life to the shopping center in the form of a cinema.
At her weekly press briefing Wednesday morning, Pugh said she recently pitched investment firm Goldman Sachs to invest in a movie theater at the mall in West Baltimore.
She fielded the idea last week, she said, when investors from the New York firm visited City Hall with developers to discuss their planned city-financed overhaul for Port Covington. Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group poured $233 million into the 235-acre redevelopment plan in fall 2017, becoming an equity investor alongside Sagamore Development Company, the real estate arm of Kevin Plank’s Under Armour.
Goldman Sachs also partnered up with Bloomberg Philanthropies last year to commit $10 million to Baltimore small businesses.
Noting Goldman Sachs’ existing involvement in Baltimore development, Pugh said she asked the company “to take a look at what we’re doing at Mondawmin.”
“I asked them to look at the possibility of a movie theater in Mondawmin, so they are taking a look at that,” the mayor said.
Target, once Mondawmin’s anchor retailer, cleared out its shelves for good in February after 10 years. The city helped draw the store there in 2008, offering the company $15 million in tax incentives. But in November, the retailer announced its plans to leave. In an email to Baltimore Fishbowl, a company spokeswoman hinted at declining sales as the reason.
“Typically, a store is closed as a result of seeing several years of decreasing profitability,” the spokeswoman wrote in an email in November. “This decision was not made lightly.”
Councilman Leon Pinkett, who organized a community meeting about Target’s suddenly announced departure in November, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Baltimore Fishbowl has also reached out to community associations and mall management.
Asked today if city officials have considered purchasing the space left vacant by Target, Pugh said she is not aware of any such efforts.
“Again, I think it’s a great opportunity for a movie theater,” she said.
Port Covington’s developers initially targeted 2017 for a groundbreaking, though construction has been delayed into this year. The city cannot issue any of its $660 million in promised bonds without financial data from Sagamore.
Nevertheless, Pugh said Wednesday that Goldman Sachs is “very pleased with their investment.”
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