Laurel resident Christina Jerome, 32, said she usually goes to Bowie to do her shopping and dine out, but when a few more stores, restaurants and a movie theater open at Towne Centre Laurel this fall, she said she will be glad to stay closer to home.
On June 17, officials for the 400,000-square foot mixed-use development on Baltimore Avenue announced that Buffalo Wild Wings, Nando’s Peri Peri, Sarku Japan, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Extreme Pita, Modo’s Nail Bar, Hair Cuttery and a U.S. post office have just signed leases to open in the fall.
The new stores will be joining about 30 other businesses Owings Mill-based developer Greenberg Gibbons plans to open by the end of the year, including Regal Cinemas, Old Navy and the first Harris Teeter in the Prince George’s County.
“I feel like Laurel was a bit old...but I think that this could bring some lifeblood to the area,” said Jerome, a Prince George’s County educator on June 20, after she finished shopping at Party City, one of the newly opened stores.
Jerome said the new shopping center is an improvement on the old Laurel Mall that previously stood on the same site, where she worked years ago while attending college. She said the layout is more convenient and even the sidewalks are nicer.
“Here I can go to different stores and not have to go through the whole mall,” she said. “It’s more inviting, it’s nicer to look at.”
With Party City, Burlington Coat Factory and the spa Massage Envy already open and more restaurants and stores coming in the fall, the development is beginning to come to life and residents say they are thrilled about all the new options.
“They had the old mall here, but over the years it had really gone down,” said Carole Wilson, 62 of Greenbelt, who was shopping June 10. “It was a much-needed development for the community.”
Wilson said the new businesses will also be a boon to the local economy.
“It also will offer employment opportunities,” said Wilson, adding that she plans to tell her friends and acquaintances looking for work about new stores that are opening. “Nowadays with the job market, everybody is looking.”
Thomas Fitzpatrick, president and chief operating officer for Greenberg Gibbons, said the shopping center’s construction is expected to create about 2,000 jobs and the new stores are expected to add 1,500 to 2,000 more jobs.
Maureen Rogers, administrative coordinator of the Laurel Board of Trade said she expects Towne Centre Laurel will have a positive overall impact on business in the city.
“We just hear more and more positive talk about Laurel,” she said. “We’re just looking forward to all the stores opening.”
Jerome said she hopes the new retail center will boost the property value of her home.
“The more people that get drawn to the area, the more money it will bring,” she said. “I’m just very happy that it came to fruition.”