Security Square Mall: The Resilient Gem of Woodlawn, MD

A Haven of Shopping and Community

Nestled comfortably in the heart of Woodlawn, Maryland, stands the majestic Security Square Mall. This sprawling retail giant, spreading over an impressive 1,040,000 square feet, resonates with stories of the past, tales of transformation, and whispers of vibrant community life.

Opening its doors for the first time in 1972, the mall has become a beloved institution in Woodlawn, offering many shopping experiences to generations of locals.

Security Square Mall, home to over 100 unique stores and services, was a perfect blend of retail therapy and culinary delights. In addition, it was an architectural marvel that boasts one floor for general shopping, while the Grand Village Plaza, Macy’s, and the former Sears feature an additional floor.

The Journey through the Decades

The journey of Security Square Mall has been exciting, much like the city it resides in. The mall, initiated by the Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation, opened its doors with Sears and Hochschild Kohn’s as its original anchors.

Over the years, the mall has witnessed several transformations, surviving the ebb and flow of commerce and culture.

Year Event
1972 Security Square Mall opens
1983 Sold to JMB Urban Realty
1997 Woolworth closes, replaced by Burlington Coat Factory
2001 Montgomery Ward closes, replaced by Modell’s Sporting Goods
2001 JCPenney closes
2003 Former JCPenney space converted to Seoul Plaza
2008 Grand Mart supermarket closes
2018 Seoul Plaza was renamed to Grand Village Plaza
2019 Sears closes
2021 Shooting incident occurs
2022 Major funding announced for revitalization

From Sears’s closing to Grand Village Plaza’s emergence from the former Seoul Plaza, the mall has remained a constant in the community, adapting and evolving to fit the changing landscape.

Security Square Mall
Security Square Mall” by MikeKalasnik is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Mall’s Evolution

Capital Investment Associates, a privately held realty company, purchased the mall and embarked on an ambitious journey of upscale transformation and revitalization.

With the help of Hicks & Rotner Retail Inc., they signed eight new retailers, including Hecht’s, and revamped several areas of the mall, including the food court, restrooms, and landscaping.

The most notable achievement for the mall was announcing a $20 million revitalization plan for the area around the mall in 2022. These local and state leaders’ efforts underscore the mall’s significance and growth potential in the community.

Security Square Mall decline

The mall has declined due to various factors, including the rise of online shopping, limited clothing options, and lack of maintenance. It also experienced high-profile public safety incidents, such as a parking lot shootout involving Baltimore City Police officers last summer​.

Crime rates in the area surrounding Security Square Mall are only marginally higher than they were in the previous year. The incidents reported include assaults, sex crimes, car theft, weapons law violations, and narcotics offenses​.

The mall is located in a predominantly area with many low-income residents. The area around Security Square is considered a food desert, meaning many residents live more than a half-mile from the closest grocery store​​.

Despite the mall’s current state, urban planners and county officials see it as a prime location for development due to its strategic location at the 695 Beltway and Interstate 70’s crossroads and its public transit access to several bus routes. It is also located in an “opportunity zone,” a federally designated area targeted for revitalization where developers and businesses are offered tax breaks to build and relocate​.

Located adjacent to the Baltimore Beltway’s Exit 17 and just 2 miles from the end of I-70, the Security Square Mall is easily accessible for locals and tourists. The mall also serves as a hub for several Maryland Transit Administration bus routes, making it a well-connected point of interest in Woodlawn.

Addressing Community Concerns

Security Square Mall is not just a commercial entity but an integral part of the community. The local Randallstown NAACP took action when the mall’s parking lot became a hotspot for dangerous street racing.

In April 2023, they agreed with the mall’s management to improve safety measures. These should include adding gates to restrict access, employing outside security guards, and improving lighting throughout the property.

The Security Square Mall, in its essence, has always been more than just a shopping center. It’s a testament to the community’s resilience and adaptability, a space where commerce, culture, and society intertwine.

It’s a place where memories are made, friendships are formed, and a sense of belonging is fostered. Despite the ups and downs, the mall has continued to serve the people of Woodlawn, embodying the community’s spirit and the enduring charm of local business.

Security Square Mall: A Symbol of Resilience

In July 2021, Security Square Mall was the site of a tragic shooting incident. While such a horrendous event could have shaken any community to its core, the mall, much like its community, proved resilient.

This resilience is reflected in the mall’s continuous evolution. From significant renovations to tenant replacements and efforts to address community concerns, Security Square Mall has demonstrated a commitment to adapt and thrive. It’s a living testament to the community’s spirit and represents Woodlawn’s resilience.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Security Square Mall

In an era of e-commerce and online retail, Security Square Mall stands as a beacon of community spirit and a testament to the timeless appeal of brick-and-mortar retail. As we look to the future, the mall continues to adapt and evolve, ready to write the next chapter in its storied history.

Security Square Mall has always been more than just a shopping center – part of Woodlawn’s identity. Its transformation and continued growth are a testament to the strength and resilience of the community it serves.

Security Square Mall
Security Square Mall” by MikeKalasnik is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

As the mall enters its next phase, one thing is clear – Security Square Mall isn’t just about shopping; it’s about creating memories, nurturing community spirit, and celebrating the unique charm of Woodlawn.

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