Lord & Taylor, the Last Remnant of White Flint Mall, Has Permanently Closed

From the MoCo Show:

Lord & Taylor, the Last Remnant of White Flint Mall, Has Permanently Closed

Back in May, we let you know that Lord & Taylor had announced plans to close their location in the former White Flint Mall area.

After months of inventory sales, it appears that this Lord & Taylor location has finally shut its doors for good. The parking lot is empty, this location is no longer listed on the Lord & Taylor website, and google lists the location as permanently closed.

When White Flint Mall first opened in 1977, Lord & Taylor was one of its anchor stores, along with Bloomingdale’s, and I. Magnin (later replaced by Borders Books).

In the mid 2010s, there was a legal dispute between Lord & Taylor and White Flint Mall; Lord & Taylor alleged that plans to redevelop the mall were in violation of Lord & Taylor’s rental agreement. The store was eventually allowed to remain and redevelopment was halted. The mall around Lord & Taylor was demolished and the store was the only part remaining.


Latest on Lord & Taylor

From Store Reporter

The endless going-out-of-business sale

Lord & Taylor has been going out of business since August, but the White Flint store is still fully stocked with discounted clothes, shoes, jewelry, bedding and gifts. In fact, we’ve see quite a few items that you wouldn’t expect to find at Lord & Taylor: shirts from J.Crew and Talbot’s, a case full of used designer handbags, even a newly opened rug gallery. That’s because a third-party company is running Lord & Taylor’s liquidation sales and filling all the empty floor space with outside merchandise. There are definitely bargains to be had, but all sales are final — so make sure to do your homework before you buy. For a look at what’s in stock, check out Store Reporter on Facebook and Instagram.

Forbes also did a nice article about the demise of Lord & Taylor.

Good-bye, Lord & Taylor

Lord & Taylor’ and its parent company Le Tote announced yesterday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Many stores, including the one at White Flint Mall, will be closing their doors. From an article in Forbes:

The Chevy Chase, Maryland location appears safe, for now, and is operating in a business-as-usual format. But its neighboring branches in Fair Oaks, Columbia, and White Flint are not as lucky. The White Flint, Maryland store has stoically remained in business even though the luxury shopping mall it helped anchor was demolished years ago. A lawsuit between Lord & Taylor and the property’s owner has kept White Flint defiantly in operation over the years.

This closing will no doubt cause many of you to ask, so what does this mean for redevelopment at the Mall? With the bankruptcy less than 24 hours old, a liquidation sale that may well continue through the holidays, an on-going pandemic, and a struggling economy, it may be awhile for things to sort themselves out.


The Lord & Taylor lowdown

From Store Reporter

Lord & Taylorunder new ownership this fall, is closing its stores at Tysons Corner and Dulles Town Center just months after exiting Gaithersburg’s Lakeforest Mall. So what about the North Bethesda store, which stands alone at the site of the former White Flint Mall? Not to worry. A company spokesman assures us that the White Flint store will remain open, along with the one in Chevy Chase. If you happen to stop by, don’t miss the newly expanded second-floor clearance section with a smattering of designer bargains directly from Manhattan. Next year, we’re told, all Lord & Taylor stores will begin integrating merchandise from new owner Le Tote.

Lord & Taylor rumored to be staying at White Flint

Lord & Taylor was sold this week to a little-known clothing rental service, Le Tote, a seven-year-old San Francisco company.

Hudson’s Bay, the chain’s parent company, will continue to own Lord & Taylor’s real estate and cover Le Tote’s rent at those properties for three years. Le Tote will pay $100 million in cash for Lord & Taylor’s brand and inventory and take control of 38 stores and the chain’s digital presence. Five stores will close as part of the transaction, but the company did not say which ones.

Friends of White Flint has heard from unnamed sources (how very Washington Post of us to cite unnamed sources) that Lord & Taylor at White Flint Mall will be staying at the mall site…at least for now.

Yes, they’re still tied up in court.

The White Flint Mall and Lord & Taylor case just got scheduled Oct. 25 to 28 in Richmond at The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The Mall’s owners are appealing a District Court decision that awarded Lord & Taylor $31 million in damages. White Flint Mall owners appealed so they can provide evidence  about the future potential profits for Lord & Taylor from the redeveloped town center that will one day be built on the property. Lord & Taylor appealed because they believe they deserve more than $31 million in damages.

According to the Washington Business Journal, “The U.S. District Court jury found in August 2015 that White Flint broke a decades-old agreement with Lord & Taylor to operate White Flint as a high-end retail center by deliberately vacating the roughly 800,000-square-foot enclosed mall and voted 6-1 to award the retailer $31 million in lost profits and related costs.”

The legal battle over White Flint Mall continues …

Lerner Enterprises and The Tower Cos. filed a notice Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals declaring their intention to appeal a verdict handed down by a U.S. District Court jury in August.

As you probably know, the jury awarded Lord & Taylor $31 million in damages, deciding the mall’s owners broke their contract to maintain the mall as a first-class shopping center until 2042. The monetary award is to make up for the lost profits Lord & Taylor claimed.

The mall’s owners hope to convince the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that the U.S. District Court jury in Greenbelt should have gotten the chance to consider how much money Lord & Taylor stood to make when and if the mall is redeveloped.

According to the Washington Business Journal, Scott Morrison, an attorney for the mall owners, said, “We think it was grossly unfair for Lord & Taylor to estimate future losses without allowing us to present evidence of how much money it would have made. It was like arguing with handcuffs on.”

On another note, here are some photos from Greater Greater Washington showing the parking garages at the mall coming down.

wf1 wf2

Washington Business Journal Details White Flint Mall/Lord & Taylor Battle

Curious why White Flint Mall hasn’t been demolished? This detailed article, White Flint Mall and Lord & Taylor both accuse each other of good old-fa…, in the Washington Business Journal discusses the protracted legal battle between Lord & Taylor and Lerner Enterprises.
If you don’t have time to read this lengthy article, I’ve listed some highlights below:
  • Lord & Taylor’s lawsuit against White Flint will mark its two-­year anniversary this July, delaying the mall’s redevelopment and likely costing both sides millions of dollars in legal fees and related costs.
  • “I think all of us in Montgomery County want this matter resolved so the redevelopment can move forward,” said Montgomery County Councilman Roger Berliner
  • Representatives for Lord & Taylor allege White Flint didn’t just let the mall fade away but rather precipitated its demise as an enclosed mall to tear it down and redevelop it into a town center.
  • Federal Court Judge Roger Titus, in a December 2013 ruling, denied Lord & Taylor’s request for an injunction, finding the loss of tenants and state of the mall, which at that point included the demolition of the former Bloomingdale’s, was too far along for the mall to be restored and that Lord & Taylor’s lawsuit could be addressed through financial damages instead. This past March, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Titus’s finding.
  • The retailer has engaged in “guerilla warfare,” the mall asserts, by attempting to block its requests for demolition permits to tear down its exterior. “It has genuinely hurt the business relationship dramatically and significantly between White Flint and Lord & Taylor,” White Flint attorney Scott Morrison said. “What Lord & Taylor’s doing now, frankly, is outrageous. This redevelopment is going to occur. They’ve cost White Flint by their conduct, already, millions and millions of dollars due to the delay and the legal fees and the carry on the property. It’s a travesty, really.”
  • Morrison also said, “We want the redevelopment to be a success. We always assumed that they wanted it to be successful, and the way to make it successful is for them to cooperate with us. We don’t want to hurt Lord & Taylor. Remember, we want a redevelopment that works. We spent a year and a half with the highest executives of Lord & Taylor and their consultants to try to do just that.”
  • The mall site has been approved for more than 2,400 residential units, 1 million square feet of office, another million square feet of retail, a 300­-key hotel and a little less than 17 acres of open space.