Positive White Flint Mall News
The Washington Business Journal reported late last week that the owners of the former White Flint Mall have decided to pay the $31 million verdict a jury awarded to retailer Lord & Taylor rather than to appeal to a higher court. The decision ends a protracted legal battle over the the site’s planned redevelopment that goes nearly four years.
Bethesda Beat wrote the payment brings to an end the legal battle that began in 2013 after Lord & Taylor contested the mall owners’ moves to close and demolish the mall to make a way for a major mixed-use redevelopment project. A Maryland District Court jury ruled in favor of the retailer in 2015 that the mall’s owners failed to honor an easement agreement with Lord & Taylor to maintain the mall as a “first-class” shopping destination until at least 2042. As the legal case wound through the court system, the mall was demolished, leaving the Lord & Taylor store, which shared a wall with the mall, standing alone on the approximately 45-acre Rockville Pike site.
“The White Flint planning has to start over,” said the attornery representing Lerner, Scott Morrison. “We now have to reevaluate three and a half years of successful development by competitors in the area. Now that litigation is over, the question is what you do with that site. You can’t make a decision about what to do until you begin and complete a complicated analysis about what’s happened to the market and where you want to go.”
He also said redevelopment would have been underway had Lord & Taylor cooperated with the mall’s owners rather than pursuing the lawsuit. “I think the real tragedy here is that Lord & Taylor chose to litigate rather than continue its early cooperation to really allow White Flint to become a destination center,” Morrison said.