CAPITAL PLAZA MALL: LANDOVER HILLS, MD
Martin Claggett's Commentary
Posted September 3, 2006 (user submitted)
Capital Plaza Mall was probably Maryland's loneliest mall, as a matter of
fact, it was probably the loneliest mall in the Washington DC Metro Area. I've
only visited the mall on several occasions in 2003 & 2004, but the times I
visited the mall, it wasn't like any other mall I've seen, and not in a good
way. Even Landover Mall (now defunct except for Sears) had more excitement, and
that mall was slowly dying too (go figure).
Capital Plaza Mall was to my knowledge, built in the late 60's early 70's,
and it was like your typical average American mall, but things took a turn for
the worse in the late 90's. It all began when not one, but two major anchors
moved out. The first was Hechinger, a formerly large DC hardware chain. In
mid-1999, it moved out of the mall when the whole company shut down its 117
stores after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Ironically, a few months later,
the infamous Montgomery Wards filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed 250 of
its 500 outlets. The Wards at Capital Plaza was one of the unlucky 250 outlets.
With Hechinger and Wards closing, this dealt a fatal blow to Capital Plaza
Mall. Foot traffic declined drastically and the mall started to slowly fade
away. With years passing by, tiny struggling buisness tenants started to move
out and nobody rushed to replace them. Everywhere you went in the mall there
was an empty storefront. Mall upkeep was also bad. The tile on the floor was
lumpy, the bathrooms were disgusting, and some sections of the mall were not
well lit. So this made it dangerous at dusk. The Wards connected to the mall
was shuttered but never demolished, so it was just a dull, empty building with
a large labelscar. Even the food court had nothing but one ice cream kiosk. The
only things keeping the mall alive was a Foot Locker, a McDonalds which was an
outparcel, and antique store, the annual carnival, and the UniverSoul Circus
held on the parking lot.
Finally in 2005, Capital Plaza Mall finally ended its life. The mall was leased
by Wal-Mart after a local lobbying campaign, so as of currently the 1,805,560
square feet of the mall has been demolished and the construction of Wal-Mart
has begun. However, Capital Plaza will always be remembered as the once
thriving mall it was.
baltimorechronicle.com/2005/090205Burns.shtml - "Capital Plaza Could Have Sheltered the Hurricane Refugees"
An Article Of What The Mall Could Have Done In The Aftermath Of Hurricane Katrina