White Marsh Mall gains new anchor store

Forever 21 to take over former Boscov's location vacant since 2008

February 17, 2010|By Lorraine Mirabella | lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

The shuttered Boscov's department store at White Marsh Mall has been leased to national retailer Forever 21, according to the commercial real estate firm that brokered the deal.

The chain of women's apparel stores will lease the entire 197,000-square-foot space that Boscov's occupied until it filed for bankruptcy protection in August 2008, said Towson-based KLNB Retail. KLNB handled the transaction for Jones Lang LaSalle, the court-appointed receiver overseeing Boscov's real estate.

Boscov's had been an anchor at the 1.2 million-square-foot mall, which is owned and managed by General Growth Properties and is the fourth biggest shopping center in Maryland. Chicago-based General Growth also has filed for bankruptcy. Separately on Tuesday, Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group made a $10 billion bid for General Growth's holdings.

"Forever 21 is a nationally recognized women's clothing retailer that is currently looking for expansion opportunities in underserved markets," said Tom Maddux, president of KLNB Retail.

He said the company was able to take advantage of weakness in the retail leasing market to secure a long-term lease significantly below market value. He declined to disclose more details.

Forever 21, based in Los Angeles, has been expanding both nationally and internationally with large stores that range from 80,000 square feet to 90,000 square feet. An average store has 80 fitting rooms, nearly 30 cash registers, more than 200 employees and about 200,000 pieces of merchandise. The retailer is moving from a space within White Marsh Mall into the anchor spot.

The 87-year-old privately held Boscov's, based in Reading, Pa., expanded to Baltimore in 2006 by moving into former Macy's locations. The company closed 10 stores when it filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and said at the time that its stores in White Marsh, Owings Mills and Marley Station were not profitable.

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