Kohl's announces plans to open its first Baltimore County site

Discount store to occupy anchor post in Yorkridge

April 11, 2003|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Kohl's Corp. plans to open its first store in Baltimore County as an anchor of a redeveloped Yorkridge Shopping Center in Lutherville, a trustee for the center said yesterday.

The Wisconsin-based discount department store signed a lease at the strip center on York and Ridgely roads and plans to build an 88,000-square- foot store that will anchor a renovated center, said Sidney Weiman, a trustee for the family trust that owns the center.

Plans call for demolishing less than half of the center, including space once occupied by a movie theater and space now occupied by a Michael's crafts store. Michael's will relocate to a vacant Super Fresh supermarket in the center, Weiman said. Most of the existing tenants, including the Hunt Ridge Restaurant and a Rite Aid, are expected to stay in the newly renovated center, and some new retailers are expected, Weiman said.

Renovations will include new facades and upgraded parking and lighting, which, along with the new Kohl's, represent an estimated $8 million to $9 million investment in the center, Weiman said.

He said construction should start with renovations of the former Super Fresh in August, which will allow Michael's to relocate by February. Kohl's could open by October next year, he said.

"It will be a big draw," Weiman said. "They wouldn't be coming to the center unless they thought it would be successful."

Kohl's has Baltimore-area stores in Bel Air, Ellicott City, Severna Park, Eldersburg and Westminster. The retailer usually announces new stores about six months before they open, a Kohl's spokeswoman said yesterday.

"Kohl's won't comment on a site until we have announced it," said the spokeswoman, Tawn Earnest.

She said the retailer plans to open up to 100 new stores in 2004 but that the company has not announced locations for those stores.

The Yorkridge Shopping Center, which has been nearly half vacant since the supermarket and the movie theater closed several years ago, had been negotiating to bring in an Expo home design center store, operated by Home Depot. But Expo pulled out of the deal because of litigation between the Yorkridge owner and Mid-Atlantic Realty Trust, the owner of the neighboring center, Lutherville Station. That center is negotiating with retail tenants to fill part of a vacancy left when the Caldor department store closed its doors.

By the time the litigation was resolved, the economy had begun to weaken, Weiman said, and Home Depot decided against the new store.

F. Patrick Hughes, president and chief executive of Lutherville-based Mid-Atlantic Realty Trust, said the coming addition to the neighboring Yorkridge center will "raise the retail profile on both projects, so I think it's good for both centers. The extended vacancy in the center adjacent to us hasn't helped us and our vacancy hasn't helped them."

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