Westfield Annapolis Mall: Retail and Entertainment in Annapolis, MD

Origins and Early Development

The Westfield Annapolis Mall opened in 1980, taking over the location that used to be the Annapolis terminus of the Washington, Baltimore, and Annapolis Electric Railway.

The area was known as the “Best Gate” station, a name that influenced the nearby Bestgate Road. The station featured three single-ended and four double-ended sidings for rail cars.

The site was home to a single-level Montgomery Ward store during the 1970s. The mall, which was constructed in 1980, included Montgomery Ward as an anchor store. Washington, D.C.-based Garfinckel’s and Hecht’s, both two-level stores, also served as anchor stores.

The mall expanded in 1983 with the addition of a single-level JCPenney store, marking the beginning of its growth and development.

For more things to do in Annapolis, Maryland, Westfield Annapolis serves as a central retail hub with various stores and services.

Expansion in the 1990s

In 1994, Westfield Annapolis added a two-level Nordstrom store, which gave the mall a high-end retail experience.

The new addition included an expanded food court, offering more dining options for shoppers. Nordstrom’s presence boosted the mall’s profile and attracted more visitors.

In 1998, a two-level Lord & Taylor store opened, further enhancing the mall’s appeal. That same year, an 11-screen movie theater began operations, providing entertainment options beyond shopping.

These additions made Westfield Annapolis a more comprehensive destination for both shopping and leisure.

During this decade, the mall continued to attract new stores and expand its offerings. The 1990s set the stage for Westfield Annapolis to become a major shopping and entertainment hub in the region.

The 2000s and Major Changes

The 2000s brought several changes to Westfield Annapolis. In 2001, Montgomery Ward closed, and Sears took over its space in 2002. This transition marked a shift in the mall’s anchor stores.

The rebranding of Hecht’s to Macy’s in September 2006 added another major retailer to the mall’s lineup.

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Borders Books and Music moved into the former Garfinckel’s space in the mid-2000s. This store offered a wide selection of books, music, and a café, becoming a popular spot for book lovers and casual visitors alike. The presence of Borders added a new dimension to the mall’s retail mix.

In 2007, the mall expanded again, including an extension of the existing JCPenney store. This growth continued to attract a diverse range of retailers and customers. Forever 21 opened a two-level store in the former Borders space after Borders closed in 2011.

During this time, the mall also saw the addition of specialty stores and unique features. In 2009, Crate & Barrel opened, adding a home goods retailer to the mix. The mall’s variety of stores continued to grow, catering to different tastes and preferences.

These changes in the 2000s helped Westfield Annapolis maintain its relevance and appeal. The addition of major retailers and the expansion of existing stores ensured that the mall remained a key destination for shopping and entertainment.

Incidents and Security

In November 2006, a shooting occurred at Westfield Annapolis. An off-duty Secret Service agent saw a fight in the food court and intervened. During the altercation, one of the combatants pulled a gun and shot the agent.

The agent returned fire, injuring the shooter. A third person got wounded in the incident. This event highlighted the need for enhanced security measures in the mall.

The mall quickly responded by closing temporarily and updating its security protocols. They increased the presence of security personnel and installed more surveillance cameras.

The mall’s management worked closely with local law enforcement to ensure a safer environment for shoppers.

The trial for the shooter concluded in December 2007. The court sentenced him to 65 years in prison. This incident remains a notable part of the mall’s history, underscoring the importance of safety measures in public spaces.

Enhanced security measures have since helped prevent similar incidents. The mall continues to prioritize the safety of its visitors, making sure that everyone feels secure while shopping and enjoying the various amenities.

Westfield Annapolis
Westfield Annapolis” by Baron Maddock is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Recent Developments and Closures

In recent years, Westfield Annapolis has experienced several changes. In 2017, Lord & Taylor announced its closure.

The mall owners quickly redeveloped the space, opening The Container Store and other retailers. This change aimed to keep the mall’s offerings fresh and appealing.

The Anne Arundel County Public Library opened a branch in the mall in April 2018. The library, called “Discoveries: The Library at the Mall,” relocated to a permanent spot in 2020.

This addition brought educational resources and community services to the shopping center, enhancing its role in the community.

In July 2021, the library added a Community Pantry, distributing essential items like diapers, baby supplies, and hygiene products.

Nordstrom closed in May 2020 as part of a wave of store closures by the chain. This closure reflected broader retail trends and impacted the mall’s high-end retail offerings. Despite this, the mall continued to adapt by bringing in new stores and services.

In 2020, the SPCA of Anne Arundel County opened “Paws at the Mall,” an animal shelter within the mall. This unique addition provided a new experience for visitors and supported the community by offering pet adoption services.

The mall has also expanded its entertainment options. In April 2022, AMC Theatres acquired the Bow Tie Cinemas location and reopened it as AMC Annapolis Mall 11. This theater offers a modern movie-going experience and adds to the mall’s leisure activities.

Current State and Future Plans

As of now, Westfield Annapolis hosts several anchor stores, including JCPenney, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel, Forever 21, The Container Store, and AMC Theatres.

These stores cater to a wide range of shoppers, offering everything from fashion to home goods and entertainment.

The mall also plans to introduce new possible anchors like Onelife Fitness, Grocery Outlet, and Hobby Lobby. These additions aim to diversify the mall’s offerings and attract more visitors.

New developments continue to shape the mall’s future. The addition of specialty stores, dining options, and community services reflects the mall’s commitment to evolving with consumer needs. The mall’s management actively seeks to bring in fresh and engaging retail experiences.

Westfield Annapolis remains a central part of the Annapolis community. Its blend of retail, dining, entertainment, and community services ensures it stays relevant and attractive to both locals and visitors.

2023-2024 Updates on Westfield Annapolis

On May 31, 2023, an armed robbery occurred at Kay Jewelers inside Westfield Annapolis. A white female suspect, approximately 25-30 years old, displayed a handgun and demanded jewelry. She fled the scene with stolen items.

In August 2023, New Village Academy Public Charter School entered negotiations to lease space within Westfield Annapolis. The construction of the school will be partially funded through a $215,000 grant, showing the mall’s potential as a mixed-use space.

In May 2024, operators of a new charter high school announced a delay in the school’s opening. Originally set to open in fall 2024 at Westfield Annapolis, the school will now open in fall 2025.

The Governing Board of New Village Academy Public Charter School made this decision, citing the need for additional preparation and construction time.

In April 2024, Westfield Annapolis hosted an event featuring stars from the Netflix show “My Life with the Walter Boys.” Noah LaLonde and Ashby Gentry attended, drawing a large crowd and highlighting the mall’s role as a community entertainment venue.

The JC Penney store at Westfield Annapolis, sold as part of a package deal in 2022, will close in 2025. The new owners plan to divide the space for multiple uses, reflecting a shift in retail strategy and the need to adapt to changing market demands.

These updates from 2023 and 2024 illustrate Westfield Annapolis’s dynamic environment and ongoing efforts to adapt and serve the Annapolis community.

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