A power center -- the retail equivalent of a meteor -- is about to land in Anne Arundel County.
Constellation Real Estate Group Inc. of Columbia, in a $34.4 million joint venture with Atlanta-based Jacoby Development Inc., is breaking ground on a shopping center featuring warehouse-size stores on a 53-acre site at the intersection of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 198, just east of Laurel and the Prince George's County line.
Called Corridor Marketplace, the 414,800-square-foot center already has signed several major retailers to long-term leases occupying 350,800 square feet of space, nearly 85 percent of the center, which is expected to open by late summer.
"It's a significant project not only in terms of the company, but in terms of the region and the county," said Constellation Senior Vice President J. Richard Uhlig. Constellation is a subsidiary of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.
The center is expected to create hundreds of jobs, thousands of dollars in tax revenue and a few more shopping choices for consumers with the openings of:
* Target, a major discount store.
* Kohl's department store.
* Waccamaw, a home furnisher.
* Weis Food Markets.
* The Sports Authority.
Minneapolis-based Target has confirmed only two other planned sites in the region -- Potomac Mills and Fredericksburg, both in Virginia. But sources have said that the retailer expects to open 12 stores here by July and another seven by the end of next year.
Kohl's arrival in Anne Arundel represents the chain's first public pronouncement that it's moving into the region. But sources have said the Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based retailer also is considering sites in Dale City and Prince William County, both in Northern Virginia.
All that's left to be leased at Corridor Marketplace is a space of about 20,000 square feet and some smaller (2,000 to 5,000 square feet) store sites.
Retailers apparently were drawn by the demographics -- an estimated 110,000 consumers in a 5-mile radius with a median household income of $56,000. The center is within eight miles of three major planned residential communities -- Piney Orchard, Russett and Seven Oaks -- that will contain more than 15,000 households.
Those are the kind of numbers that have recently spawned other power centers in the region.
The success of Snowden Square, opened in June 1993 off Snowden River Parkway, prompted its developer, the Rouse Co. of Columbia, to plan another power center less than a mile away, at Snowden River Parkway and Route 175.
In addition, Minnesota-based Opus East is planning a center in Ellicott City at Route 100 and U.S. 29, while Nottingham Properties Inc. has all but leased a power center in White Marsh on Campbell Boulevard just east of Interstate 95.
"They're the darlings of the industry right now," Tom Saquella, president of the Maryland Retailers Association, said of the centers. "People are extremely price-conscious in the '90s, and they do offer good prices."