Firm drops plans to build Asian mall near North East

Company notes concerns about parking, traffic

April 11, 2004|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

Plans have stalled for a 500-store wholesale International Mega Mall in Cecil County that would specialize in products from Asia.

China Products Exhibition & Exchange Center (USA) Inc., announced that it has terminated an agreement to acquire land in the North East Commerce Center, near the town of North East, where it planned to locate the new facility.

Lawrence F. Haislip, an attorney with Miles & Stockbridge who is working with the company, said there was concern about limited parking at the site.

The company also expressed concern about traffic in the area.

King Mark, an executive of China Products, which has its headquarters in West Baltimore, said the company would be looking for other suitable sites along the Interstate 95 corridor in Cecil County for its planned facility. The mall would limit its products to those manufactured in China, South Korea and other Pacific Rim countries, according to Mark.

When plans for the project were announced in December, Mark said it would be a "business-to-business" operation. The mall is scheduled to open late next year.

Other company officials said the mall would serve as the U.S. base of operation for small and medium Asian companies wanting to tap into the North American market.

By grouping a large number of companies into one facility, the mall developers hope to make it considerably less expensive for foreign companies to gain access to the market here.

The mall is expected to draw wholesale buyers from a radius of 700 miles, a region that takes in parts of Canada and about a third of the United States.

The $150 million project was projected to generate about 1,500 jobs.

It would offer a wide variety of products, including computers, cell phones, furniture, carpets, shoes, auto parts, textiles, leather goods, hardware, books, art, toys and jewelry.

The company has plans to build two other malls in the same region.

A second mall would serve as a European center, featuring businesses from that part of the world seeking to enter the North American market. If things go as planned, Mark said, it could open by 2006.

A third mall is targeted to open two years later. It would feature companies from Latin America and Africa.

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