Arundel Mills has begun to attract development, with a pair of hotels announced for property adjoining Maryland's biggest shopping mall.
Skye Hospitality LLC purchased land last month from Mills Corp. for the hotels, which will have a total of 300 rooms, said Dennis J. Connolly, vice president and senior development director of Mills.
The hotels will accommodate shoppers and travelers attracted by the mall off Route 100 near Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Hanover. They will add to the accommodations around the increasingly busy Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
Fast-food restaurants, gas stations and other stores are also expected to be developed on land the corporation will eventually sell, Connelly said yesterday.
Skye Hospitality is expected to begin construction this year but has not determined what chains will operate the hotels, Connolly said.
He said the hotels will encourage business travelers and other out-of-town visitors to stop by the mall, which has 217 stores and restaurants and a 24-screen Muvico theater.
Other Mills Corp. malls have hotels adjacent to them, some offering weekend packages for people who shop and stay, Connolly said.
Neil Shpritz, executive director of BWI Business Partnership Inc., said he's "absolutely delighted" about the hotel deal and said he's noticed that hotels at other Mills malls have been successful.
Shpritz said hotels are needed near BWI since the airport-area hotels typically have an 80 percent occupancy rate. The need is expected to grow: Arundel Mills is becoming a tourist attraction and is expected to draw more than 17 million people a year.
"It transforms the BWI business district from a typical office-industrial complex that happens to have an airport at its center, to an area that has much more in the way of its own tourism and much more needed retail activity," Shpritz said.