Mall losing another store McCrory's leaving

Rouse has potential buyer for Harundale

April 25, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

A year after the Rouse Co. put Harundale Mall up for sale, a potential buyer is looking over the Glen Burnie mall at the same time that McCrory's, a major tenant, is preparing to move out.

Cathy Lickteig, a spokeswoman for Columbia-based Rouse, confirmed that the company has been talking to "a potential buyer," but she said she could not "go into any more details right now" because the companies are negotiating.

Selling the 368,000-square-foot mall is part of Rouse's effort to divest itself of smaller shopping centers and focus on developing regional malls, company officials have said.

Rouse's $4.7 billion worth of properties includes more than 200 malls in 24 states, nine of them in Maryland. Many are upscale regional malls such as Owings Mills, The Mall in Columbia and White Marsh.

McCrory's, based in York, Pa., has been closing its variety stores in the East as part of its reorganization plan filed in federal bankruptcy court in 1992.

"Based on how we have done at that store, we have decided not to continue there," Paul Weiner, the company's chief financial officer, said of Harundale.

When McCrory's lease expires in October, the store, which has about 20 employees, will be gone, Mr. Weiner said. The store opened at Harundale in 1990, he said.

Harundale, built in 1958 for $10 million, was Rouse's first enclosed mall and the first in the United States east of the Mississippi. About 60 percent of its 52 stores are occupied, Ms. Lickteig said.

McCrory's is the latest store to leave the mall in recent years.

Although no new tenant is lined up for the 24,000-square-foot space McCrory's occupies, Ms. Lickteig said, "Obviously we're looking hard."

"It's a tough market for large space users these days," she said. And the task is complicated as Rouse seeks to sell the mall.

On most weekdays, the mall is almost deserted, but merchants remain optimistic about a new owner.

"As long as they keep it a mall, I'm sure a new investor would fix it up," said George V. Edwards, an artist who has operated a kiosk from time to time at Harundale since 1988.

Glancing at several empty storefronts, he said he hopes the mall will bounce back.

Maury Fine, who has operated B. Fine Clothier for 20 years at Harundale, said he is "optimistic."

Pub Date: 4/25/96

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