Cordish Co. has signed a lease with K mart Corp. to build a 107,000-square-foot store at struggling Joppatowne Plaza in Harford County.
Construction at the U.S. 40 shopping plaza, which is 50 percent vacant, should begin in February 1992, with the new store opening next fall.
In addition to building the K mart, Cordish Co. plans to renovate the existing shopping center and add a larger supermarket to one end of the strip. The entire project is expected to cost approximately $5 million.
Glenn Weinberg, operations director at Cordish, called the lease agreement with K mart a "coup" that will produce a "180-degree turnaround" for the plaza.
"Getting a strong anchor in any center is tremendous, let alone a center that needs a boost." said Weinberg.
The company is currently finalizing leases with an Italian restaurant, Chinese restaurant, delicatessen, hardware store and several fashion users.
The upgrades symbolize the changing of the guard at the 27-year-old shopping center, which had fallen into disrepair in recent years.
Earlier this year, Epstein's department store closed its 37,500-square-foot store at the 16-acre plaza. Epstein's parent corporation, L. Epstein & Sons Inc., owned the plaza and had already filed for bankruptcy.
Shortly after, the Cordish Co. bought the shopping center for $1.6 million. Negotiations with K mart began in June.
As part of the expansion and renovation of the center, Weinberg said, approximately 60,000 square feet of existing space will be demolished to make room for the K mart.
The new store will be consistent with the K mart chain's new format of building larger stores with wider aisles, brighter displays and improved presentation of merchandise, according to K mart spokeswoman Michele DeLand. Between 150 and 200 people will be employed at the new store.
Meanwhile, Cordish is hoping to double the supermarket space at the plaza to a total of about 40,000 square feet by next year. An A&P Food Store at the shopping plaza is considering whether to remain at the center and occupy the new space, Weinberg said.
The planned renovations will restore the "village look" of the plaza, Weinberg said. Awnings will be added, along with new landscaping and pavement.
The design is being handled by anin-house architect. A construction contractor has yet to be chosen for the project.
The following lease and purchase agreements were announced Casey & Associates Commercial and Industrial Realtors:
* Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. recently leased 2,365 square feet of office space in the Rutherford Business Park at 21 Governor's Court in Baltimore County. Casey & Associates represented the tenant and the landlord, the Rouse Co.
* Fidelity & Deposit of Maryland, a fidelity bonding insurance firm, has leased 16,200 square feet at Columbia Corporate Park II at 8850 Stanford Boulevard in Columbia. Casey & Associates represented the tenant.
* Atlantic Graphics Systems has purchased 3,000 square feet of office and warehouse space at Broken Land Business Center at 9687 Gerwig Lane in Columbia. Casey & Associates represented the landlord, Guilford Limited Partnership.