Cap Centre going the way of main street

Old sports arena site to become retail project

April 20, 2002|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

Developers have signed leases with the first group of shops for the Boulevard at the Capital Centre, a "main street" style development to take the place of the old sports arena off the Capital Beltway in Landover.

The retailers are Linens N' Things, Pier 1 Imports, Lane Bryant, Men's Wearhouse, Yankee Candle Co., Children's Place, Shoe Dept., Chuck E. Cheese, Oxford Street and Lucaya.

The shops announced this week account for about 80,000 square feet of the 400,000 square feet slated for shops and restaurants.

The Cordish Co., the Baltimore company that developed the Power Plant, is leading the team putting together the $80 million project in Prince George's County.

While retailers have been struggling through the sour economy and have been opening fewer stores, Reed Cordish, a vice president with the Cordish Co. said the location and lack of area shopping centers have helped the developers lease the 70-acre site.

"There's such a need for it in this market," he said. "It's a great population, from all accounts - density, income, education. It's very, very under-served."

Officials in Prince George's, which will lease the land to developers, support the development.

They have said that the majority-black county has historically been underserved by retailers, and the development will bring more than lease payments.

The development will bring in middle-income and upper-income residents to shop as well as taxes and jobs, officials said.

The project has undergone some changes since originally envisioned.

The developers will not maintain the old Capital Centre arena shell, and a movie theater complex was scrapped for financial reasons.

Demolition of the arena has to wait until the Washington Power indoor men's lacrosse team finishes its season.

The team's contract expires at the end of the month, and Cordish expects to begin demolition in the summer.

The Boulevard is expected to open in summer of next year. Offices and a hotel are planned in later phases.

Other developers on the project include Abe Pollin, the arena's owner and majority owner of the Washington Wizards basketball team; Ted Leonsis, an America Online official who heads an investment group that owns the Washington Capitals hockey team and has a minority interest in the Wizards; and basketball great Michael Jordan.

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