Construction of Hagerstown outlet mall to start

October 14, 1997|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,SUN STAFF

Prime Retail Inc. intends to start construction on a long-delayed outlet center mall in Hagerstown this week, after the state's highest court refused to consider an appeal intended to block the planned $40 million retail project.

The Outlet Village of Hagerstown mall, planned for 61 acres at the intersection of Interstate 70 and Route 65, would be the Baltimore-based shopping center developer's first Maryland project and its 26th nationwide.

"As a Maryland company, we're excited that we can now build and operate an upscale village-style outlet center in our home state," said William H. Carpenter, the company's president and chief operating officer.

The real estate investment trust's excitement over the project may also stem from the numerous battles it has had to fight to proceed in Hagerstown.

Since announcing plans for the mall in May 1995, Prime Retail has faced court challenges to a Washington County rezoning, and a federal suit that claimed the REIT used confidential information that belonged to a West Virginia competitor to evaluate the Hagerstown market

The state's Court of Appeals cleared what is expected to be the final hurdle to the new mall late last week, when it refused to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling regarding the March 1996 zoning change.

The federal suit was settled last December.

The zoning change had been protested by the owner of another Hagerstown mall, neighboring property owners and a number of Hagerstown residents.

When completed, the Hagerstown mall is slated to contain 100 stores and as much as 440,000 square feet.

The first of two phases is expected to be completed in the summer of 1998. Prime Retail, however, declined yesterday to reveal any potential tenants for the new project.

In all, Prime Retail owns 24 outlet malls in 18 states, containing 6.3 million square feet.

Pub Date: 10/14/97

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