A cutting-edge skateboarding park and a hunting and fishing store complete with a stream may be part of the retail and entertainment mix at Arundel Mills mall, according to Laurence Siegel, developer of the 1.4-million-square-foot shopping and entertainment complex in Hanover.
The featured speaker at the BWI Business Partnership's 14th annual meeting yesterday, Siegel said construction of the mall on 380 acres south of Route 100 east of Ridge Road will begin this summer. It should be finished in November next year.
"Retail is an evolving technology," said Siegel, chairman and chief executive officer of the Arlington, Va.-based Mills Corp. "The customer wants to be entertained; he just doesn't want to go out and pick things out of bins and go home."
Siegel told more than 150 area business leaders and elected officials that the Baltimore-Washington corridor was "the most vibrant area for commerce in the United States" and that there is strong interest from prospective retailers in the $250 million Arundel Mills.
Some retailers in other Mills Corp. projects that may open stores in Arundel Mills include Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and Off Fifth, a Saks Fifth Avenue outlet. It also will have restaurants, movie theaters and electronic games.
There might even be a tourist attraction. At the Gurnee Mills project in Illinois, Siegel said, the hunting and fishing retailer, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, has achieved that status.
"You walk up to the store, and there's a running trout stream in front of it," he said.
He said Mills is negotiating with Vans Skatepark to build a detached skateboarding facility at the Arundel Mills site, similar to the rink at a Mills project in Orange County, Calif.
"Arundel Mills is probably the best site we have in our portfolio," he said.
Other Mills Corp. projects under construction or in the planning stages include malls in New Jersey, Atlanta, San Francisco, Houston and Nashville, Tenn.
A Mills video, shown to BWI Business Partnership members, defined the company's signature concept as "shoppertainment." The video featured happy customers in several Mills projects.
"We are so busy nowadays with our two girls, so any time we can spend together is good time, and if we can do it shopping, it's great," one parent said.
Because of the mix of activities at Mills malls, Siegel said, consumers stay longer and spend more. He said the average shopper spends less than $70 on a trip to a "regular" mall, compared with $180 at a Mills mall.
Last year the County Council set up a taxation district that will help pay for $28 million in road and sewer work for the mall, including a ramp to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
The Mills Corp.'s first project, Potomac Mills, opened in Prince William, Va., in 1985. It has grown from 600,000 to 2 million square feet and is Virginia's top tourist attraction, Siegel said.
Pub Date: 5/20/99