Arundel Mills mall lands first 5 tenants

Sports outlet plans climbing wall, ski deck

July 15, 1999|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Arundel Mills, the $250 million, entertainment-oriented megamall to be built near Baltimore-Washington International Airport, has lined up its first five anchor tenants: a sports-entertainment complex and superstores for linens, skiing and skating equipment, music and Mexican-style home decor.

Mills Corp. of Arlington, Va., the developer of the planned 220-store mall, will announce its initial lineup today during groundbreaking ceremonies at the 400-acre site near Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 100.

Mills, which expects to open the mall by Thanksgiving next year pending approval of environmental permits, has signed leases for more than 160,000 square feet with Jillian's, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sun & Ski Sports, FYE -- For Your Entertainment, and Iguana Amerimex, said Susan Goyette, a Mills spokeswoman.

The Jillian's entertainment complex will include a restaurant, virtual rides, high-technology games and billiards. Sun & Ski, with a focus on skiing, snowboarding, cycling and in-line skating, will offer a 20-foot rock-climbing wall, an in-line skate demonstration track and an instructional ski deck.

FYE will sell compact discs, movies and video games, and will include an arcade. Iguana Amerimex, of Oakland, Calif., sells pottery and Mexican colonial furniture.

The Mills project, expected to draw as many as 18 million local shoppers and tourists a year, could end up with 16 to 18 anchors, company officials said.

As of late yesterday, the developer was negotiating with three cinema operators in hopes of announcing a sixth anchor today to run a 100,000-square-foot multiscreen theater, said Laurence C. Siegel, Mills' chief executive officer. The company also has tentative plans to announce a seventh anchor, Siegel said.

The seven leases combined would include nearly a third of the 1.4 million-square-foot center, he said.

"We're still 17 months out and we have tremendous interest," Siegel said, adding that he expects to have all anchor tenants signed up by October.

As for the first few on board -- all new to Maryland except Bed Bath & Beyond -- "any time you can introduce something new to the market that's not here, it's going to create excitement and have people drive further," he said. The developer will need to sign more brand-name tenants within five months or so to obtain a construction loan and meet sales and visitor projections, said David M. Fick, a senior analyst and principal with Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc. in Baltimore.

The final lineup should include at least one fashion anchor, such as Nordstrom Rack or Saks Off 5th, and retailers with the allure of a Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World or a Vans Skate Park, Fick said.

"Those are the kinds of major tenants that you look for to anchor these things. Brand names count a lot in this business," he said, adding, "This is very preliminary. I expect them to be able to do that."

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