Nottingham gets site for retail complex in Aberdeen

Condos, stores, theater set near Ripken Stadium

April 08, 2005|By Jamie Smith Hopkins | Jamie Smith Hopkins,SUN STAFF

Aberdeen is one important step closer to a substantial complex of shops, restaurants and movie screens: The Harford County community has handed the land off to a developer, more than a year and a half after the deal was struck.

Nottingham Properties Inc. took control of the 46-acre property last week, the city said yesterday. The land sits beside an Interstate 95 exit and Ripken Baseball's minor-league stadium and youth fields.

Nottingham, best known for the development of White Marsh Town Center, expects to begin grading the land this summer and start construction early next year.

When completed, which is expected by the end of 2007, the sports-themed project will include 168 luxury condominiums, 130,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and a movie theater with 14 to 16 screens. It will become Aberdeen's largest retail complex, said City Manager Peter Dacey, a change of pace for residents used to driving to Bel Air or Delaware to shop and eat.

"It will be right in their back yard," he said.

The land, sold to Nottingham for $4.2 million, was part of a 112-acre purchase Aberdeen officials made about five years ago to build the fields. From the beginning, the city hoped to bring in a development to help cover the cost of the stadium, which has a debt-service payment of $350,000 a year.

The project was delayed after a competing development team took Aberdeen to court when it wasn't picked as the buyer. Carsins Run Crossing LLC settled with the city in December for $100,000.

"We're really eager to get started," said Charles E. McMahon, vice president of Nottingham, which signed a contract for the land in August 2003. "It's a rapidly growing market that's ready for a project of this type."

The site is already a draw. The Aberdeen IronBirds minor-league team is one of the most popular in its division, with every game at the 6,100-seat stadium sold out for the past three seasons.

McMahon expects the development to be worth $65 million when complete.

The complex should generate $265,000 in property taxes and $400,000 to $500,000 in admissions and amusement taxes a year, Dacey said.

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