Construction under way on $45 million retail complex Center to create 1,500 jobs, says Rouse Co. official

April 30, 1996|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,SUN STAFF

Columbia Crossing -- the $45 million, 73-acre project near Route 175 and Snowden River Parkway that will be Columbia's second giant warehouse-style retail complex -- has moved beyond paperwork to bricks and mortar.

Construction began last month on the retail center's largest attraction, a 125,000-square-foot Target discount store set to open in October, said Alton J. Scavo, a Rouse Co. senior vice president.

"It'll be a landmark for [Route] 175," Mr. Scavo said of the 450,000-square-foot Columbia Crossing center.

In the summer, Columbia Crossing's only other confirmed tenant, Dick's Clothing & Sporting Goods, will begin construction of its 60,000-square-foot store. The store could open next spring.

Meanwhile, Rouse continues to woo other tenants and is engaged in serious talks with four or five "recognizable names," Mr. Scavo said. "The next step is to turn negotiations into contracts and break ground on them."

The development of Columbia Crossing is part of the continued boom in retail development in East Columbia. The center is less than a mile from Snowden Square, Columbia's first retail power center featuring warehouse-style stores, which opened in 1993.

Although the community has voiced concern that traffic congestion could worsen with the opening of Columbia Crossing, Mr. Scavo said the project should prove to be an economic boon.

The new center -- about half the size of The Mall in Columbia -- will provide more than 1,500 jobs, he said. The Target store alone is set to employ about 150 full- and part-time workers, a Target spokeswoman said.

And when the entire retail center is finished in 1997, the buildings' designs will be consistent in theme with those in the village centers in Columbia's 10 villages, Mr. Scavo said.

The Target store is part of an East Coast expansion effort by the Minneapolis, Minn.-based chain, the nation's third-largest discount retailer.

Target also is building a store at the $40 million Long Gate Shopping Center, another large-scale shopping center at U.S. 29 and Route 100 in Ellicott City, the Target spokeswoman said.

And this summer, construction is expected to begin on a 35,000-square foot United Artists Theater at Snowden Square, slated to open next spring.

The theater will feature 10 auditoriums and 2,400 seats in one of Howard County's largest movie venues, said Douglas Alexander, vice president of construction for United Artists.

It will include two box offices, accessibility for the handicapped and -- eventually -- digital sound capability in all the auditoriums, he said.

As a convenience for patrons, there will be 14 concession stands "so you don't have to come back out to the lobby while the movie is playing," Mr. Alexander said.

There also will be a heated entry vestibule so patrons don't have to wait in the cold.

The theater will provide 65 full-time and part-time employees, he said. There will be 699 parking spaces.

Pub Date: 4/30/96

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