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Monday, May 23, 2022

Mondawmin’s vacant Target store property to become ‘TouchPoint Empowerment Center’

 One of Baltimore’s leading corporate figures has unveiled plans for a vacant property that is estimated to bring transformative change to Mondawmin Mall and its surrounding communities.

   The Greater Mondawmin Coordinating Council (GMCC) announced Whiting-Turner CEO Tim Regan has purchased the former Target store that was connected to the mall with the purpose of “creating an active community hub that will revitalize the historic West Baltimore neighborhood and Mondawmin Mall.”

   Hundreds gathered at the site of the old Target— the future home of “TouchPoint Empowerment Center”— on March 29, 2022 to celebrate Regan’s acquisition of the 127,000 square foot building and surrounding property. 

   Regan, also the co-founder of Mondawmin’s TouchPoint Baltimore, was joined by numerous elected officials, corporate and civic leaders, and community members for the ceremony esteemed to possibly spark a “renaissance” of the Mondawmin area. 

   The hour-long event featured remarks from GMCC President Adeline Hutchinson; Regan, TouchPoint co-founder; Exelon Chief Operating Officer Calvin Butler; Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby; Center for Urban Families president and founder Joe Jones; and Mondawmin Mall general manager Romaine Smallwood-Faison.

Mondawmin Mall General Manager Romaine Smallwood-Faison.

   “This is truly a happy and uplifting day for the community and also for our city,” said Hutchinson, also a lifelong Mondawmin area resident

   “Our area of West Baltimore has a rich history of African-American homeownership, business ownership and neighbors taking care of neighbors. That’s not to say that we haven’t had our challenges in recent years… but not for one second have we ever lost faith or belief that Mondawmin would make a full return to historic beginnings. We know today is a major step in that direction.”

   Though Regan personally acquired the 8.3-acre site, which has been vacant since 2018, for $1 million, he will make this undertaking a community-driven initiative. Furthermore, the business leader has projected a multi-million-dollar follow-on investment in the property according to the specific uses for the building as associated renovations are made.

   The new TouchPoint Empowerment Center will be an extension of the already-existing TouchPoint Baltimore, a community-based collaboration center located on Mondawmin Mall’s first level near Shoppers. 

   “Decisions on the use and reconfiguration of the property will be based on community input” and plans for the vacant site ‘will be developed in consultation with local community leaders,’” says a TouchPoint press release. “The reimagined site will help unlock the vast untapped talent in the neighborhoods of West Baltimore and advance growth within the city.”

Community members and supporters assemble for the new community hub announcement event at the site of the Target store in Mondawmin.

   The numerous political figures and professionals in attendance lauded the philanthropic efforts of Regan, including State Senator Antonio Hayes, Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women Owned Businesses director Paul Taylor and Frederick Douglass High School Assistant Principal Jermaine Skinner. Several Whiting-Turner employees also showed up to support Regan. 

   “When you think about the opportunities that we’re providing within the community and what Tim personally has committed to taking an idea and leveraging it— that is what impact is all about,” said Butler, adding that he hopes people will feel they have opportunity and resources as a result of this redevelopment.

   “Tim’s commitment here today showed that lives will be impacted for generations to come, and to be a part of that— springing out of our idea back in 2016— that’s real, and that’s what it’s about. It’s about making a difference in people’s lives, and for him to put his own individual money into this is significant.”

   Potential opportunities for the new community hub could include retail spaces for local entrepreneurs, a larger TouchPoint facility with expanded tutoring and mentoring capacity, a modest-sized Whiting-Turner office, expanded workforce development programming in conjunction with the Center for Urban Families, a catering/events space and a teaching kitchen, Regan said.

   Soon, Regan will meet with community members and partners to delve into the specific plans of TouchPoint Empowerment Center, he added.

   “Our familiarity with the neighborhood is quite deep so when we saw the property become available, I wasn’t able to talk about it with anybody until I thought that it could become a real deal and I just thought that we could do so much with a building this big, especially if we kind of set our own rules of making it a nice mix of retail amenities based in the community and community-support entities,” said Regan, who has been seriously considering the project since 2019. 

   “This is definitely a priority to be able to kind of kickstart a revitalization investment in West Baltimore.”

   For the nearly 70 years that Mondawmin Mall has existed, it’s been a community staple in West Baltimore, Smallwood-Faison highlighted. The addition of the TouchPoint community hub will only add to the mall’s visibility, she said.

   “From a retail perspective, I think it’s great to add this addition, but it’s more because of the community aspect of it,” Smallwood-Faison said.

   “Mondawmin Mall is a community staple, we’ve been here for like 66 years. So this only expands the footprint.”

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