Greenbelt’s Beltway Plaza to Be Redeveloped

In its design and feel, Greenbelt’s Beltway Plaza Mall is a throwback to the heyday of American malls in the 1980s. But a closer look shows a mall with a unique business model.

As noted in this 2016 story in the Washington Post, the mall has found new life as home to small businesses run by Latino and African immigrants. With few of the typical anchors — except a Target — the mall instead features stores like the bluntly titled Ties, Shirts and More, which focus on providing a good value and old-fashioned service. 

Now the mall’s owners, Bethesda-based Quantum Companies, are looking to change things up. Paperwork filed with the Prince George’s County Planning Department, first obtained by Route 1 Reporter, show plans to add townhomes, apartments and more shops, turning it into more of a modern mixed-use development.

That would improve walkability in an area still defined largely by the pedestrian-unfriendly Greenbelt Road and not far from new townhomes by the Greenbelt Metro station

But as a thoughtful piece in the American Conservative noted, this gentrification might also force some of these entrepreneurs out of business.

“The answer to existing businesses is essentially to move or pay astronomical new rents. In a few cases of strip mall redevelopment, existing retail tenants are grandfathered into new developments or promised below-market rates,” notes author Addison Del Mastro. “Mostly, they move or close.”

The plans are not approved yet, which means there is still an opportunity for local leaders to act. They could, for example, ask the mall’s owners to make certain commitments to existing tenants for a period of time during the redevelopment. 

The Beltway Plaza could use a fresh look, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep some of what makes it unique and interesting.

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6 Responses to Greenbelt’s Beltway Plaza to Be Redeveloped

  1. Christopher Hawks says:

    It’s not unique or interesting. It’s a mess and an eyesore. Good riddance.

  2. Scott miles says:

    Interesting and unique is not a quite good thing in this case.

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  4. adelphi_sky says:

    Now everything that is old is an eyesore? Just because the mall wasn’t built with fancy glass and stucco doesn’t make it an eyesore. It is 99% leased. An eyesore would be a dying mall out in the Midwest with shuttered windows, weeds growing in the parking lot and 30% of the spaces leased.

  5. ed says:

    still functional, just add a Food Court and it’s all good…:)

  6. Mike says:

    As someone who moved to this area from a place with a dying mall (Shoppingtown Mall, East Syracuse, NY – its a disaster for the city), this mall is vibrant and interesting. I’ve loved walking through there and being exposed to the different shops and foods. I’d like to see some of the mall updated with new fixtures, but would hope that any old tenant who wishes to stay, can stay. It’s been a highlight of moving to this area.

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