Baltimore Mayor on Looted Vendors Staying in Baltimore: It's 'Smart Investment'

By Susan Jones | May 4, 2015 | 10:18 AM EDT

( - Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake took a tour of the looted Mondawmin Mall on Sunday, calling it a "great day" and thanking "all of the vendors who are here," including a company called General Growth.

"You know, they want to stay here. They want to continue their investment. And I think this was a smart -- it's certainly a smart investment because this is a growing community."

"I've been coming here since I was a child, taking my Christmas pictures with Santa, I think the Easter bunny," the mayor explained. "You can come up, General Growth, if you want to come up. Come on," she encouraged the reprentative of the mall's management company. "You sure?" she asked, when the representative (whose name she did not use) declined her offer to stand with her.

"And this is just a great day for this community to have the mall reopened. Just a wonderful day," the mayor continued.

"I was proud to support the investment that -- I think it was the Baltimore Development Corporation -- made into this mall to do the major renovations and to see it bounce back so quickly. It gives me a lot of optimism about what's possible in the rebuilding. I'll open it up. I don't know if BDC wanted to say anything --"

"No, ma'am," the (unnamed) Baltimore Development Corporation representative responded.

"All right," the mayor said, opening the floor to questions.

A reporter asked the mayor if the National Guard and State Troopers would leave Baltimore, now that the protests have calmed down.

"So they unwind," the mayor said of the extra manpower. "They don't -- it's not like you flip a switch. You know, they have to unwind their operations. And they're going to do that over this next week."

"Are you concerned this might be premature on your part?" a reporter asked.

"You'll tell me that afterwards," the mayor said. "You know, it will either be too long or too early. You'll let me know afterwards."

While some stores reopened on Sunday, others, including a Lids hat store and several looted jewelry stores, remained closed, the Baltimore Sun reported.

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