A Nordstrom department store and 50 new shops will open at AnnapolisMall by September 1993 as part of a major expansion to create an upscale, regional center -- the largest in the county.
Officials of St. Louis-based May Centers Inc. announced plans yesterday to add 250,000 square feet of floor space and renovate the entire mall for more than $50 million. Work will begin in spring.
Nordstrom Inc., an upscale, Seattle-based retailer with 64 locations, will open its third Maryland store in a 150,000-square-foot portion of the addition. The company is building its first two Maryland stores at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda -- also a May Centers property -- and at Towsontowne Center in Towson. The chain opened its first East Coast store at Tysons Corner in northern Virginia.
May Centers will begin negotiating immediately to lease the remaining 100,000 square feet of new space it will build as a northeast wing, said Robert L. Ferguson, company president.
Because the mall has few vacancies,mall officials believe they'll have their pick of new, upscale stores, Ferguson said.
Since opening more than a decade ago with 87 stores anchored by Hecht's and Montgomery Ward, the Annapolis Mall has consistently proven successful, Ferguson said. In 1983, it added a J.C. Penney and 33 stores.
In 1986, when RREEF Funds of San Franciscojoined May Centers as a partner, the owners began to consider expanding the 715,000-square-foot mall. Owners rejected a proposal to builda second story, deciding that would create too much small store space, Ferguson said.
For the past several years, sales have averaged $340 per square foot, way above industry standards for average success.
Mall merchants saw a dip in sales when the 120-store Marley Station mall in Glen Burnie opened in 1987, making it the county's largest mall and the Annapolis Mall's chief competitor.
"With the expansion, we will move into the super-regional category. We should draw more people," said Ferguson.
He predicted the new 1 million-square-foot Annapolis Mall will average sales of $450 per square foot after one year.
While existing mall shops will continue to offer moderately priced merchandise, the new stores will offer higher-priced, higher-quality goods, he said.
"As this market has improved, as incomes have risen, as more people have come into the market, it has provided an opening for us to upscale the merchandise and upscale the environment," Ferguson said. "This will bring the mall into the '90s."
Remodeling will include a new floor and a new food area.
Malls have generally fared better than retail strip centers, which have spouted vacancy signs throughout the county.
"You can't lump the fate ofwell-positioned regional malls in with the fate of strip centers popping up at every corner," Ferguson said. "We put our money into properties that are winners."
May Centers owns or is a partner in 26 regional shopping centers nationwide, while the RREEF Funds manages $4.4 billion in pension fund real estate investments for more than 100 corporate, public and international clients.