Section of Glen Burnie Mall to be torn down for Target

Petrie Ventures expects project to create 250 jobs, help revitalize corridor

August 27, 2002|By Dan Thanh Dang and Gus G. Sentementes | Dan Thanh Dang and Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

Annapolis-based Petrie Ventures Inc. said yesterday that it will demolish part of the struggling, 40-year-old Glen Burnie Mall to make room for a Target store and lure other higher-end retailers to the Ritchie Highway corridor.

Petrie said its two-year revitalization project will pump $8 million in investments into Anne Arundel County and create about 250 jobs. The renovation seeks to reverse the steady decline of a mall that has suffered from growing competition and the loss of its anchor Montgomery Ward store more than a year ago.

Petrie Ventures has recruited Chick-fil-A, Bennigan's restaurant and Salvo Auto Parts to the mall site to join the new Target, which is expected to open in 2004.

"This center has been sort of treated as a stepchild," Walter Petrie, chairman of Petrie Ventures, said at a news conference in a vacant Glen Burnie Mall store yesterday morning. "It is not a Class A mall. But we saw a diamond in the rough. It has a great geographic location, great demographics and all the right ingredients to do the right kind of thing now."

"The mall is antiquated and needs a face lift," said Petrie, who predicted that Target will be an integral part of enticing other businesses back to the mall. "We're not going after Gucci and Tiffany's, but we do see some better, more higher-end retailers we want to bring here that are interested in coming here."

Petrie said negotiations began about 18 months ago to buy Glen Burnie Mall from Simon Property Group of Indianapolis, which had expressed interest in selling its three regional malls in Prince George's, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties.

Petrie Ventures bought distressed Golden Ring Mall in Rosedale from Simon in 2000 and is expected to offer a contract for its Forest Village Park Mall in Forestville in Prince George's County.

Petrie closed the $20 million deal for Glen Burnie last week.

No novice to revitalization efforts, the Annapolis developer also carried out Towson Town Center's first redevelopment project in 1983.

"It is hard to get developers to invest in the redevelopment of existing malls," said Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens, who used to frequent the mall with her sons several years ago. "This is an exciting investment. This is a very significant move forward for us in Anne Arundel County."

The county recently enacted legislation that gives landlords a tax break for renovating older retail buildings.

Petrie Ventures will receive about $500,000 in tax credits over five years for the project, said William A. Badger, president and chief executive of the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp.

"It's a mall that was meant to be redone," said Susan B. Anderson, a retail real estate broker and vice president of Timonium-based H&R Retail Inc. "It did great until Marley Station Mall opened" in 1987.

Just six miles south of downtown Baltimore, Glen Burnie Mall underwent a $2.5 million renovation in 1995.

Current anchors include Toys `R' Us, Best Buy and Dick's Clothing & Sporting Goods.

But the mall lost its major draw, Montgomery Ward, when the chain went bankrupt in 2000 - the year that the giant Arundel Mills mall opened nearby.

While officials from Target declined to confirm the location of its new store, retail experts said that luring a highly successful retailer like Target would give Glen Burnie Mall a new crown jewel again.

Twenty-three Target stores are in Maryland, 14 in the Balti- more area.

"That's a major coup for them," said Mark Millman, president of the Millman Research Group, a nationwide retail and shopping center consulting firm in Owings Mills. "Adding a Target to your portfolio will dramatically increase the visibility of the center and enable you to attract other major retailers who want to surround themselves around a Target.

"Ritchie Highway is still one of the most heavily traveled roads in the state, and it sounds like they're ready to commit some major money into re-merchandising the center. It appears the [Petrie Ventures is] on the right road to have some huge success based on the early results of their leasing activity."

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