GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WDVM) — Shopping malls across the nation have been declining as online shopping has become more popular over the years.
A Montgomery County shopping center that’s been around for decades went under foreclosure a few years ago, but it now has a new owner.
Lakeforest Mall has been around for over 40 years, but since, stores have closed, and it went under foreclosure until WRS, Inc.– a South Carolina Real Estate Group – bought the property. A resident said, “It’s just a good place; a good center place. The eatery is a good place. Some of the main stores are still here.”
WRS, Inc. did not comment on what they plan to do with the property, but some are looking for a mixed-use development of retail, apartments and public space for the community. “It should be brought up to date, but still kept within the bounds of the demographic of Gaithersburg. We don’t need a Gucci, we need regular stores,” said another local.
Macy’s is one of five anchors attached to the mall. All of them are individually owned, and this could create conflict in the future.
“It is actually five properties. There’s the core mall, and then each of the anchors owns its own piece of land,” stated Mayor of Gaithersburg, Jud Ashman. “There’s a deal between them called the Reciprocal Easement Agreement, that means that if anyone of them wants to make a change, they need the permission of all the four others, which is why Lake Forest has been in a stalemate for many years.”
City officials say they are looking forward to working with WRS during, a process which could take years. Until then, the city would like to hear what residents really want.
Gaithersburg is known to be one of the most diverse cities in the U.S.