Mall owners plan to expand

Westfield Shoppingtown to add big-box retailers

County to review proposal

270,000-square-foot space would have `mini-anchor'

Annapolis

July 07, 2004|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF

As crews gear up to raze the old Parole Plaza shopping center to make way for a $400 million mix of shops and residences, owners of Annapolis' largest mall have announced plans to add several big-box retailers at their site, less than a mile away.

Plans submitted for county review by Westfield Shoppingtown Annapolis call for a 270,000- square-foot addition along Jennifer Road, said marketing director Scott J. deGraffenreid.

No decisions have been made regarding the types of stores that could come to the addition, he said. Westfield is looking at a combination of stores, including restaurants, lifestyle and specialty retail stores, and a 75,000-square-foot "mini-anchor," deGraffenreid said.

Plans indicate that the tenant for that store would be Dick's Sporting Goods, but deGraffenreid said no leases have been signed.

"We don't know at this point anything about what we'll end up with," he said.

The shops could be part of a "lifestyle center" with exterior access, deGraffenreid said.

According to the submitted plans, the stores will be constructed on part of the parking lot. Plans also show that the J.C. Penney store could be demolished to make way for the remaining retail space, including a nearly 97,000-square-foot building, said county government spokesman Matt Diehl.

DeGraffenreid, however, said that "any reconfiguration to the J.C. Penney will only make it larger."

To make up for the lost parking, Westfield has proposed two new garages near Nordstrom, deGraffenreid said.

The development plans fit with Westfield's mission of constantly "rejuvenating" its properties in the United States, deGraffenreid said.

Since taking control of what was then Annapolis Mall in 1997, Westfield has added an 11-screen movie theater and converted the Montgomery Ward store into a Sears store. The center has about 1.2 million square feet of retail space with 175 specialty stores and five anchors.

"It comes as no surprise that we're developing and redeveloping our site," deGraffenreid said. "It's time."

Westfield's preliminary concept plan was submitted to county planners a few weeks before work is scheduled to start on Annapolis Towne Centre, a mixed-use community with 600,000 square feet of retail space that will replace Parole Plaza. Construction should continue for three to five years.

Representatives of Owings Mills-based Greenberg Commercial Corp., the developer of that project, did not return calls seeking for comment yesterday.

County Councilwoman Barbara D. Samorajczyk, a Democrat who represents the area, said details of such projects need to be closely examined but that they could work together.

"I think that there could be a very positive synergy between the mall and the proposed town center," she said.

The plans will have to address traffic and stormwater management concerns.

"I'm just waiting to see how things evolve," Samorajczyk said.

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