Best Buy slated for Bel Air site Best Buy set for Bel Air site


January 07, 1995|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,Sun Staff Writer

The owner of the Harford Mall plans to raze a strip shopping center adjacent to the mall to make way for $10 million worth of new retail development, officials said yesterday.

Once the annex is demolished in the spring, Mid-Atlantic Realty Trust will begin building 100,000 square feet of discount-oriented retail space on the 12-acre site.

The first tenant to commit to the new center is the Best Buy Co. Inc.

The nation's No. 3 discount electronics chain hopes to open a 45,000-square-foot Bel Air store, its fourth in the metropolitan area, in July.

The demolition of the Harford Mall Annex follows a series of disappointing performances by grocery store chains at the 80,000-square-foot strip center.

Most recently, Basics Food Warehouse abandoned the annex in late November.

The original supermarket there was the bankrupt Pantry Pride Co.

"The annex had underperformed the market," said F. Patrick Hughes, Mid-Atlantic Realty's chief executive.

"We realized that perhaps a grocery store wasn't right there."

Mid-Atlantic Realty, whose 600,000-square-foot mall is the flagship of its $250 million portfolio, plans to attract tenants similar to Best Buy for the balance of the new annex.

The Minnesota-based discounter's lease for its store is valued at estimated $8 million.

"Regional malls tend to be magnets for shopping, and they work for us because they provide customers with convenience and provide us with good visibility," said Tom Healy, a Best Buy district manager.

"And overall, Baltimore has ideal demographics for us.

Our sales projections for our existing stores are way ahead of our original estimates."

Mid-Atlantic Realty obtained necessary approval for the demolition from the town of Bel Air late last month, Mr. Hughes said.

The company's action comes as various discount-oriented retailers have begun scouring the county for locations.

Across the street from the mall, the Cordish Co. is investing $23 million to convert the languishing Tollgate Mall into a center set to include Staples, Best Products Co., T.J. Maxx and others.

Best Buy, with more than 180 locations nationwide, has stores in Columbia, Glen Burnie and Laurel.

A store in the Woodlawn section of Baltimore County is also being planned, said Adam Miller, a KLNB Inc. principal representing the chain locally.

The new annex also marks the latest renovation of the Harford Mall, which was completed in 1972.

Most recently, the May Department Stores Co. added 50,000 square feet to its Hecht Co. store there, as part of a $10 million renovation.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.