So the Washington Post revealed yesterday that the purchaser of the Georgetown Park mall is none other than Jamestown Properties. This is very interesting.
Why? Well while the Post identifies Jamestown as “an Atlanta firm” the company already has a footprint (and an office) in Georgetown. In fact their office is just up the block. And what’s particularly interesting about Jamestown is that they often cooperate with Anthony Lanier’s Eastbanc. For instance, they teamed up to build and sell 1055 High, the new condo along the canal (catty corner to the mall). Additionally, Jamestown actually owns a good chunk of Cady’s Alley. The have a similar vision as to what the retail and residential mix of Georgetown ought to be.
And if you know your Georgetown Park mall history, you know that Anthony Lanier and Eastbanc play an important role. About 15 years ago, Eastbanc ensnared Western Development in a fight to the death over who could own the mall. Lanier asserted that he bought an option to buy the mall and wanted to exercise it. Western’s president, Herb Miller (another Georgetowner, although not anymore), argued that the option had expired. The litigation that stemmed from it is at least partly to blame for the decline of the mall. Ultimately neither party got the mall and it ended up in the hands of a couple out-of-towners: Vornado and Angelo Gordon.
With that turn of events, Lanier’s grand scheme to save the mall by turning it into an open-air arcade was lost. Instead we got what happens when a balance sheet dictates design.
But with Jamestown now about to own the mall, does the ending of this drama have a twist? The Post quoted the BID’s Joe Sternleib stating that it’s unlikely Jamestown will do much (or can do much, really) to alter the mall’s redevelopment or its tenants. But longterm, it’s bound to imprint its DNA on the property. And since that DNA seems to share a chromosome or three with Eastbanc, could we see Lanier’s vision finally come to the mall?