Towson Town Center Mall in Towson, MD: From Plaza to Modern Shopping Center

The Dawn of Towson Town Center

Towson Town Center Mall, a beacon of commerce and community in Towson, Maryland, boasts a rich and storied history from the early 1950s. Initially christened Towson Plaza, this shopping center was a trailblazer in its era, standing as one of the first multi-level shopping centers in the region.

The land, sold by Goucher College, was transformed into an open-air mall, reflecting the architectural and commercial trends of the time.

The year 1973 marked a significant turning point in the mall’s history. The open-air structure was enclosed, heralding a new epoch for Towson Plaza. This transformation was not merely about adapting to the evolving retail landscape; it was about creating a space that could offer a diverse range of experiences to its visitors.

The mall’s evolution continued in 1982 with a significant renovation that coincided with the opening of Hecht’s department store across the parking lot. This period saw the mall expanding its offerings and solidifying its place in the heart of the community.

The Evolution and Expansion Era

The Towson Town Center of today results from continuous evolution and expansion. Over the years, the mall has seen numerous additions and changes to increase mall traffic and make it more competitive with other malls.

One such memorable addition was Gadgets restaurant and arcade, a Warner Bros.-themed restaurant that opened and closed in the early 1980s. The mall’s evolution was not just about adding new stores and attractions. It was also about adapting to its visitors’ changing needs and tastes.

Some original stores, including Hess Shoes, Loewmeyer’s, and Friendly’s, survived this era but eventually closed their doors. The Level 1 center court, once home to The Garden Cafe and a dandelion fountain, saw significant changes during the 1991 renovation.

Towson Town Center
Towson Town Center” by dizrythmia is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Towson Town Center Today

Fast forward to today, and Towson Town Center stands as a modern, multi-level indoor shopping mall. It houses over 170 stores and services, anchored by two major department stores, Macy’s and Nordstrom.

The tri-level Macy’s has direct access to the upper two floors of the mall, whereas Nordstrom spans all four floors, including Nordstrom Rack on the ground floor.

The mall’s architectural features are a testament to its continuous evolution. The glass elevator, a unique feature, adds a touch of modernity to the mall’s interior. The Arbor Terrace food court on Level 3, developed by The Hahn Company, offers a variety of dining options for visitors.

Safety and Security at Towson Town Center

Towson Town Center has had its share of safety and security challenges, like any public space. In 2005, a high school teacher was tragically murdered in one of the mall’s parking garages. This incident and a gang-related shooting in 2011 led to significant security upgrades.

In response to these incidents, the mall has implemented several security measures to ensure the safety of its visitors. Recently, a large gathering of youths at the mall resulted in arrests, prompting Baltimore County officials to issue a warning. The message was clear: unlawful behavior will not be tolerated.

Renovations and Improvements

Towson Town Center has seen significant renovations and improvements over the years. 2007 a $76 million expansion and renovation project was added to the structure.

The project encompassed refurbishments to the first and second floors of the mall, parking areas, and dining establishments, along with introducing a “Main Street”-style facade that facilitated exterior shopping.

In 2016, the mall underwent a million-dollar renovation to its four parking garages. The renovation included the installation of Park Assist technology, a system that signals the availability of parking spots to customers via overhead lights that glow red or green.

Location and Accessibility

Towson Town Center enjoys a strategic location at the crossroads of Fairmount Avenue, Dulaney Valley Road, and Joppa Road. Its proximity to educational institutions such as Goucher College, Towson University, and the Towson branch of the Baltimore County library makes it a favored spot among students and faculty.

The mall is easily accessible via several bus routes managed by the Maryland Transit Administration. Additionally, the Collegetown Network, a collaborative initiative of numerous higher-education institutions in and around Baltimore, operates a shuttle service to and from the mall.

Towson Town Center
Towson Town Center” by fauxto_digit is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Reflecting on Towson Town Center

As we look back on the journey of Towson Town Center, it’s clear that this mall is more than just a shopping destination. It’s a testament to the growth and evolution of Towson, Maryland.

From its humble beginnings as an open-air plaza to its transformation into a modern, multi-level indoor mall, Towson Town Center has continually adapted to meet the needs of its community.

Several incidents have highlighted the challenges of maintaining a safe and secure environment in such a bustling public space. However, the swift response and ongoing efforts to enhance security measures demonstrate the commitment to ensuring that Towson Town Center remains safe for all visitors.

Towson Town Center
Towson Town Center Christmas” by Wysz is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

It’s a place that has seen significant changes over the years yet remains a constant in the heart of Towson, Maryland. As it continues to evolve and adapt, Towson Town Center will undoubtedly remain a significant part of the community’s fabric for years to come.

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