Annapolis Mall proceeds with expansion Fight with Woodies doesn't slow work

March 11, 1993|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff Writer

When Woodward & Lothrop, Inc. took on Annapolis Mall and its plans to add a Nordstrom and 50 new shops, mall officials decided that waiting around to see who would win should be their last option.

"We made the decision to go forward," Tim Lowe, development director for owner/manager CenterMark Properties, said during a media tour of the construction site yesterday. "We felt strongly that everything we had done to date was correct. Woodies only wins if we don't build the project."

Woodies officials, with a store a half-mile from the mall in Parole, have not said whether they'll continue a battle, so far unsuccessful, that challenges mall plans on environmental and traffic grounds.

The retailer is considering whether to appeal a federal judge's dismissal of Woodies' suit against county officials, a Circuit Court ruling that Woodies lacks standing to appeal the expansion and a county Board of Appeals' dismissal of yet another challenge.

"All options remain open," Woodies' attorney John Britton said yesterday.

Meanwhile, construction is well under way at the mall, with workers ripping out ceilings, erecting barrier walls and digging out former court areas.

The work, which began in June and carries a price tag of more than $70 million, will result in a complete transformation of the "dark and dated" 13-year-old mall, Mr. Lowe said. Mr. Lowe promised that long-time shoppers won't recognize the mall by November, when remodeling will be complete, a food court will open, and Hecht's will expand to 200,000 square feet.

"You would think we tore Annapolis Mall down and built a brand new center," he said, adding that the new mall will rely on nautical themes to create an "elegant boathouse feel."

For instance, a crew boat sculpture will suspend from the ceiling of the new court outside Nordstrom. Fourteen tenants will move into the new food court, selling everything from soup to pizza and egg rolls. The court will have seating for 600 and a glass lighthouse centerpiece that will stretch 40 feet above the roof.

Mall floors will be replaced with beige German limestone tile, storefronts will look have larger, higher-set signs, additional skylights will provide a brighter, airier look, and a series of mini-courts with benches will offer stopping points throughout a mall that will stretch a quarter-mile from end to end.

In March, the two-level Nordstrom, with a below-ground parking garage, will open along with Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, Lerner New York, The Icing, The Limited and Cacique, Victoria's Secret, 9 West, Britches Great Outdoors, Banana Republic, Super Gap, GapKids, Imaginarium, Stride Rite, Bentley's Luggage & Gifts, Crabtree & Evelyn, Natural Wonders, Sam Goody/Suncoast Motion Picture Company and The Electronics Boutique.

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