The Rouse Co. plans to spend $6.8 million to renovate most of the public spaces in the Village of Cross Keys, a 30-year-old mixed-use complex in Baltimore.
Cross Keys also has found a gourmet food vendor to repace the well-known Village Food Center, which closed last year.
The renovation is the second major upgrade in recent years for Cross Keys, an urban showplace for Columbia-based Rouse that has lost several key tenants in recent years. The Cross Keys Inn's 150 rooms were refurbished two years ago.
Rouse will renovate Cross Keys' lobbies, halls, restaurants, meeting rooms and ballroom. Elevator cabs will be replaced. A bar will be built in the lobby. The work won't affect Cross Keys' condominiums and townhouses.
"There have been some smaller efforts over the years, but this is the largest capital input in a long time," said Joan Davidson, marketing manager for the center. "It really signals a recommitment to the project by the company."
Work began earlier this year and is expected to be completed in 1996.
Tucked between the Jones Falls Expressway and Falls Road, Cross Keys opened in 1965 as a self-contained space for upscale living, working and shopping. It has long held some of Baltimore's best-known and most exclusive retailers.
Cross Keys expanded in 1973, adding 30,000 square feet of retail space, 37,000 square feet of office space and the Cross Keys Inn.
Last year it lost two important tenants. The tony Nan Duskin apparel chain closed its Cross Keys boutique in the fall after seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier in 1994. And the owners of the popular Village Food Center, a grocery store, deli and cafe, closed their operation to retire in September.
Rouse officials are working on filling the empty spaces.
Sutton on the Run, a gourmet food take-out division of the Sutton Place Gourmet chain, will occupy 4,500 square feet of space starting this summer. The Sutton store will include a deli, bakery, coffee bar and seating for 40.
Noir, a fashion store featuring black apparel, will open this month in 1,600 square feet. A toy store, Child's Play, is expanding.
After Noir and Sutton open, approximately 80 percent of Cross Keys' 65,000 square feet of retail space will be filled, Ms. Davidson said.