The financially troubled Bay Bridge Market Place in Annapolis is trying to attract national retailers to fill vacant space in the 90,000-square-foot outlet mall.
G.H. Bass & Co. opened a shoe store in the center last October. The mall's owner is trying to lure other national retailers to fill the vacant space created by small retailers whose stores failed because of poor sales.
The owner of the outlet, B2CD Associates Limited Partnership, last week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Paul M. Nussbaum, an attorney representing B2CD, said the partnership owes about $8 million to Maryland National Bank. The partnership sought court protection from its creditors after Maryland National required additional collateral and loan payments, Nussbaum said.
"The leasing market is pretty bad, and as they lose tenants it's becoming increasingly difficult to fill the space," Nussbaum said, adding that owners expect to lose an additional 10 percent of tenants in the next few months.
The outlet mall has 28 stores and is about 90 percent occupied. But the owner has had difficulty collecting rents from small retailers, said Craig Eney, the mall's property director. Eney also said the B2CD reduced rents to help the small retailers, but the strategy did not work.
"Retail is off throughout the entire industry and for some of the smaller tenants, it's become virtually impossible for them to pay rent," said Eney, adding: "We want to be protected in terms of what tenants we put in there. We have more interest in filling the space with nationally recognized retailers. Small discount stores are having a difficult time and those are the ones failing."