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Tourism Injects Mid-Atlantic With Retail Dollars

Forget the reports that shopping centers are out of favor with institutional buyers. In Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., regional malls and community centers were shopped fiercely last year by REITs, pension funds, high-net-worth individuals and foreign investors. Each often outbid the other for prime properties.

Among those that changed hands was the premier mall in the region, the 1.9 million sq. ft. Tysons Corner Center in northern Virginia. A group of domestic pension funds managed by L&B Real Estate Counsel of Dallas acquireda 52 percent interest in the center for an estimated $450 million. It was the la rgest single-property commercial transaction of the year and one of the largest of the past decade.

What's more, sales volumes rose throughout the two-state area last year. Retailers reported that shopper traffic showed strong all year and winter sales rose substantially, according to the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, Va.

Shopping center owners, too, are reporting a rosy climate in the Mid-Atlantic area. Crown American Property Trust, Johnstown, Pa., owns 26 regional shopping centers from Georgia to New Jersey, but throughout the year its best performers were in Maryland and Virginia, says Mark Pasquerilla, president of Crown American.

Crown's largest year-to-date sales increase occurred in October at Francis Scott Key Mall (Frederick, Md.), which reported a 16.58 percent increase, followed by New River Valley Mall (Christiansburg, Va.) with a 14.12 percent increase. As of January of this year, says Pasquerilla, New River Valley led the company's portfolio with a 17 percent jump.

"They are good, strong markets, and we have been consciously updating our portfolios," Pasquerilla says of his company's successes in the region.

But there were signs of weakness in the market area, too. Retailers reported to the Federal Reserve that aggressive discounting was required to keep cash registers ringing during the winter and discounts were offered throughout the year on furniture and apparel. Thus, overall, prices were stable throughout 1997.

The rebound of malls and shopping centers was helped last year by the decline in big-box competition. For the first six years of the decade, reports the Retail Services Group of Chevy Chase, Md.-based Carey Winston/Barrueta brokerage firm, big-box growth pushed retail space development over the edge. This overabundance of new supply had a deleterious effect on big-box competition, where sales levels are disappointing, the firm says.

By contrast, investment-grade, grocery-anchored centers showed continued high occupancy at 94.6 percent. The region appears capable of absorbing even more neighborhood retail space, Carey Winston/Barrueta reports.

Virginia tourism impacts retail The outlook in Virginia is especially favorable. In 1997 payroll jobs in Virginia climbed 2.7 percent, or an additional 83,200 jobs, and personal income rose 5.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Business Research at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

With state inflation running at 2.1 percent, purchasing power in the Commonwealth increased 3.8 percent. Virginia retail sales grew faster than income during the first three quarters. Such growth will continue through the end of the century, the bureau predicts.

High-tech industry growth was the major source of Virginia's economic growth, but other segments prospered as well. Virginia's diverse attractions boosted the tourism industry, now the state's third largest employer. Tourists were major customers of general retailers, helping to push up general retail sales by 6.6 percent for the year, according to Bureau of Business Research statistics.

One of the state's dominant tourist attractions is the 152-acre, 1.5 million sq. ft. Potomac Mills mall, which boasts 3,000 busloads annually by groups and chartered tours. The mall, owned by The Mills Corp., Arlington, Va., posted a strong showing for the year: Average rental rate increased from $22.01 per sq. ft. in 1996 to $23.14 per sq. ft. in 1997; rental revenues were $7.77 million per quarter vs. $7.33 million per quarter a year earlier; and total sales volume for the year was more than $360 million.

Hampton Roads' tourist attractions also surged last year. Paid attendance at Williamsburg-area attractions was up more than 11 percent, the largest gain in two decades. This helped push retail sales growth to 8.8 percent, the biggest jump since 1993.

Hampton Roads is one of the three largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the state, the other two being Richmond-Petersburg and the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. Each has a distinctive retail flavor, says Gerald Divaris, president of Virginia Beach, Va.-based Divaris Real Estate Inc.

The southernmost MSA of Hampton Roads is populated primarily by Southern- and Southeastern-based retailers, he says, while northern Virginia is populated primarily by retailers from the North and Northeast. Richmond-Petersburg gets a crossover of both.

For example, Divaris points out, Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based Kohl's Department Stores has expanded aggressively in the Washington and Baltimore areas but has just one store in Richmond and none in Hampton Roads. Southern grocer Winn-Dixie, based in Jacksonville, Fla., has yet to make any inroads in northern Virginia but is expanding throughout Hampton Roads.

Home Depot, Target, Super K and Hanaford Brothers made big pushes into the market last year, Divaris says. Exiting the area was Knoxville, Tenn.-based Proffitt's Inc., which sold seven of its eight Virginia stores to Dillard Department Stores.

In Richmond-Petersburg, accelerating growth in manufacturing jobs - particularly in the semiconductor field - and gains in the private service sector will generate well-above-average increases in total wages and salaries, reports the Bureau of Business Research. However, that is not expected to translate into comparable growth in retail sales. With fewer tourist attractions, travel-related spending is not expected to keep up with other areas of the state.

The northern Virginia MSA will continue to be the major source of Virginia's growth in 1998 and 1999, with nearly half of the state's total gains in personal income and about 40 percent of the payroll job growth. The Bureau of Business Research predicts personal income growth in northern Virginia will be 7 percent or better for the next two years. Wages and salaries will advance at an even stronger pace in spite of a gradual slowdown in job growth. A very tight labor market will keep the bidding for workers high.

"Retail sales growth will not be as strong as the income and payroll growth, even though tourist spending will continue to grow. The reason is much of the area's additional income will be spent on services not subject to the general sales tax, such as housing, education and recreation outside as well as inside the Commonwealth," the bureau reports.

There's wealth in Capital City ... The northern Virginia economy is tied inextricably to Washington, D.C., and much of the economic statistics for the Washington MSA overlap northern Virginia's - and suburban Maryland. The three localities have subtle but distinct retail differences.

The greater Washington metro area is by far the richest. Per-capita income is above the national average by 25 percent inside the city and by 30 percent in the suburbs, according to the National Association to Restore Pride in America's Capital.

The Washington area also has more shops per capita, and those shops serve a higher income base per establishment. However, due to the small size of the District, only 26 percent of the area's retail stores are in the central city (vs. a 40 percent national average).

Retail sales in the suburbs are much higher per establishment, per resident and per dollar of income. These factors tilt economic prosperity toward the suburbs. Unemployment levels in D.C. still hover around 8 percent. By comparison, suburban unemployment dropped to 2.9 percent.

According to Stephen Fuller, professor of Public Policy at George Mason University, in the period between 1969 and 1996, the District's share of the metro-area economic pie fell by 12 percentage points (from 39 to 27 percent). Meanwhile, suburban Maryland's share rose by 1 percentage point and northern Virginia's rose by 10 percentage points.

Fuller attributes northern Virginia's strength to a booming private sector. Growth in the suburban Maryland private sector is less robust and is noticeably absent in Washington, D.C., which is dominated by employees of the federal government and of nonprofit groups.

Tourism remains a strong sector for Washington, with the majority of the 20 million visitors to the area staying in the city and eating there. However, only one-third of tourist retail dollars is spent in the city.

There is a general consensus this year, however, that downtown D.C. is set for a retail revival, says Richard Lake of The Retail Group, based in Washington, D.C, which controls 25 retail properties in the two-state area. In August, President Clinton signed a rescue plan for the District that gives the city new economic development tools, including tax breaks and development financing help.

In addition, a new sports arena opened in downtown D.C., which is home to both its professional basketball and hockey teams. The new arena is expected to spur development of an entertainment district that would include movie theaters, restaurants, shops, hotels and other entertainment venues. Spearheading those types of development is Washington, D.C.-based Western Development.

Other changes on the horizon for Washington include an increased demand for land from all sectors: office, retail and housing, Lake says. Because of the competition for prime sites, there may be an explosion of mixed-use concepts for infill sites and the continued demand for grocery-anchored centers.

In the past few years, suburban Maryland - notably Montgomery County - has been overlooked somewhat by developers. That will change this year.

According the Carey Winston/Barrueta brokerage firm, there has been a greater volume of land sales reported in suburban Maryland and a narrowing spread between land prices there and in northern Virginia.

"The income levels between northern Virginia and Montgomery County are close," Lake says, "but the buying habits are significantly different. Discounters tend to do better in Virginia, while the Montgomery County customer is willing to spend higher dollars."

... But space is at a premium Drugstore wars are a predominant feature of the retail scene in metro Washington with four chains going at expansion: CVS, Rite Aid, Giant Food and Eckerd.

"Within the past year, there has been a tremendous amount of expansion by the retail chains that have entered the market relatively recently," says Dave Ward, vice president of H&R Retail Inc., a Lutherville, Md.-based brokerage firm.

Among the active retailers, says Ward, are Target, Ross Dress for Less, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Kohl's, Giant, Food Lion, all of the theater chains, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe's, Michael's Crafts, Circuit City, Staples and Hudson Trail Outfitters.

These recent entries have put the squeeze on retailers that previously filled the respective niches, including Caldor, Crown Books, Service Merchandise, JCPenney, Luskins and Hechinger.

"Bankruptcy filings will continue into 1998 as the stronger retailers continue their penetration into the market," Ward says. "Generally speaking, there will be two dominant players per category: Target and Wal-Mart, Bed Bath & Beyond and Linens 'N Things, Home Depot and Lowe's, etc. Most of the competition for sites is between the top two in each category."

This competition for a limited amount of space is forcing retailers to try heretofore unheard-of strategies, says Mike Killelea, director of business development for L.F. Jennings Inc., a general contractor in Falls Church, Va., whose specialty is shopping center and mall construction throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

"The biggest problem [in the market] is tenants finding space," Killelea says. "Target and Kohl's are doing two-story stores because there are not enough large parcels of land to support their traditional concept. There is still a tremendous amount of tenants in the 100,000 sq. ft. range looking for space. The competition is unbelievable."

Killelea reports that Kohl's set up shop in an office park on land once zoned for a multi-story office building, and the CVS drugstore chain has been buying corner sites once occupied by stand-alone gas stations.

New development in the Washington market is continuing in the suburbs but at a slower rate than in years past, says M. John Meyer, a retail leasing specialist withBaltimore-based KLNB Inc.

"Centers are being developed in areas that would have been considered 'B' markets a few years ago," Meyer says. "Examples include College Park, Md., Calverton, Md., and Leesburg, Va. As population growth continues and the amount of land zoned for retail shrinks in the most desirable markets, developers have broadened their scope."

Maryland still lags The Maryland retail market - which consists of two primary MSAs, suburban Washington and the Baltimore metro area - has been soft for most of the decade.

The number of retail trade jobs declined through the first six years of this decade, as did per-capita income. Retail sales in Maryland fell by 0.2 percent in 1996 (the latest numbers available), after adjusting for inflation.

Maryland's decline, combined with an inflation-adjusted 2.9 percent gain for the United States as a whole, caused Maryland's per-capita retail sales to fall below the national average for the very first time, according to the Maryland Office of Planning, Planning Data Services. The state's per-capita retail sales peaked at $9,214 in 1987, after which they fell in seven of the following nine years. In contrast, national per-capita retail sales have grown in seven of the last nine years.

The decline has been attributed in large part to federal-government downsizing. Maryland was disproportionately affected because of its concentration of residents who work for the federal government.

The good news is that the worst of the downsizing is over. And projections from the Maryland Office of Planning show retail sales, per-capita income and retail trade jobs increasing through the end of the decade.

Still, in Prince George's County, a suburb of both D.C. and Baltimore, retail centers continue to experience lower net rental rates and the vacancy rate is about 16 percent, according to Dean Witter Realty Income Partnership III, New York, which owns Laurel Lakes Centre in Laurel, Md.

By October 1997, occupancy at Laurel Lakes had decreased to 79 percent (leased to 29 tenants) from 81 percent a year earlier. The owners are considering the consolidation of portions of the vacant small-shop space at the center and other redevelopment alternatives.

While mall sales are soft, power center stores tend to do well, says Ward of H&R Retail. For that reason, some of the larger chains are still expanding aggressively in Baltimore and other Maryland markets, with Dick's Clothing & Sporting Goods, A.C. Moore, Target, Lowe's, Home Depot and Wal-Mart all opening sites this year.

Mike Gorsage, first vice president in the McLean, Va., office of Los Angeles-based CB Commercial Real Estate Group, notes that last year investors bid aggressively for regional and neighborhood malls in Maryland. And that may be a sign of a potential turnaround in the state.

Virginia * Washington, D.C.-based Lerner Enterprises has begun construction on Dulles Town Center, a superregional mall in Dulles. The 300,000 sq. ft. first phase, anchored by Hecht's, Sears, JCPenney and Lord & Taylor, will feature four, 40,000 sq. ft. mini anchors; a multiplex theater; an entertainment center; several restaurants; and a food court. It is scheduled to open in April 1999. A future, second phase will add a fifth department store and additional tenants.

* Stores will begin opening this month at Chesterfield Marketplace, a 425,000 sq. ft. power center in Richmond. Tenants announced at the $43 million, 10-anchor project include Home Depot, Toys "R" Us, Linens 'N Things, T.J. Maxx, PetsMart, Kids "R" Us and Rhodes Furniture. The center's grand opening is planned for October. Chesterfield Marketplace is a development of North American Properties - Atlanta, an affiliate of Cincinnati-based North American Properties Inc.

* Virginia Beach, Va.-based Divaris Property Management is involved in an expansion project and two new developments in the state. Hannaford Plaza at Hilltop, a 64,400 sq. ft. center anchored by Hannaford Food and Drug Superstore in the Hilltop section of Virginia Beach, openedlast September. It is being expanded this year to 175,000 sq. ft. with an estimated completion of October. The center is managed by Divaris, leased by Divaris Real Estate Inc. and owned by Portland, Maine-based Boney Wilson & Sons.

Also in Virginia Beach, Divaris Real Estate is leasing Columbus Center, a 300,000 sq. ft., mixed-use retail, office and hotel project that will feature high-end retailers in an urban, streetfront format. A development of Virginia Beach-based Columbus Center Associates, it is expected to be completed in June 1999.

Jefferson Center, another project being leased by Divaris Real Estate, will be a 185,000 sq. ft. power center in Newport News. The site currently accommodates Newport News Shipyard & Drydock Co., which will be razed for the new shopping center. A 131,000 sq. ft. Costco plus two additional 25,000 sq. ft. stores will anchor the project when it is completed in March 1999. Boca Raton, Fla.-based Interface Properties Cos. is developing the center.

* The Retail Group, Washington, D.C., is the leasing and consulting firm on several projects in Virginia: - Renovation is scheduled to get under way this year on Great Falls Center in Great Falls. The 85,131 sq. ft. project will include a 23,000 sq. ft. expansion of the existing Safeway store. CVS also anchors the center, which is owned and managed by Potomac, Md.-based Carl M. Freeman Management Co. The project is expected to be completed in spring 1999.

- The Shops at Mark Center in Alexandria recently underwent a renovation and redevelopment. Courtyard-facing retail shops were razed and replaced with street-facing stores, and the entire center received a makeover. The project was completed last fall. Owned and managed by The Mark Winkler Co., Alexandria, the 63,880 sq. ft. center is anchored by Giant Food Store, CVS and Blockbuster.

- Hunters Woods Village Center in Reston is being razed and redeveloped. When completed this summer, the center will total 123,000 sq. ft. and be anchored by Safeway Marketplace, Rite Aid and Hollywood Video. Vienna, Va.-based Atlantic Realty Cos. owns and manages Hunters Woods.

- Also in Reston, Tall Oaks Village Center is undergoing a redevelopment and expansion project that will include a reconfiguration of parking, landscaping and leasable area. It is expected to be completed in mid-1998. The 74,000 sq. ft. center, which is owned and managed by Atlantic Realty Cos., is anchored by Giant Food.

* Phase two of 500,000 sq. ft. Cascades Marketplace in Sterling is expected to be completed this summer. Known as the Shops at Park Place, the 105,000 sq. ft. second phase will feature The Sports Authority, Pier 1 Imports, Staples and Hallmark. Phase one anchors include Marshalls, Linens 'N Things, Zany Brainy, Cosmetic Center, Rack Room Shoes, Old Navy Clothing Co. and Dress Barn. The project is jointly owned and managed by GFS Realty Inc., Washington, D.C., and Cascades Limited Partnership, Sterling, Va.

* Chevy Chase, Md.-based H&R Retail Inc. is involved in two projects in the state. In Manassas, the company is leasing space at Westgate Plaza, which is undergoing a facelift to update the center's image and complement the arrival of a Barnes & Noble bookstore. It is expected to be completed in September. Existing anchors include Giant Food and CVS. The 163,000 sq. ft. neighborhood center is owned by Beverly, Mass.-based Brookwood Financial Co. and managed by Dallas-based Trammell Crow.

An expansion and renovation is planned for Baileys Crossroads Shopping Center in Baileys Crossroads with completion expected in June 1999. The project consists of the addition of 40,000 sq. ft. of retail space and an updated facade. Managed by H&R Retail, the 120,000 sq. ft. neighborhood center is anchored by Office Depot, Petco Pet Supplies and Pier 1 Imports.

* Plans are in the works for the development of a 70-acre parcel of land in Richmond for The Shoppes at Short Pump, a 500,000 sq. ft. lifestyle-entertainment center that is expected to be completed in fall 1999. Edwards Theatres has signed as the first tenant with a 90,000 sq. ft., 20-screen complex. The center is being developed by Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises and Richmond-based Pruitt and Associates.

* Jupiter, Fla.-based Menin Development Cos. Inc. has three expansion/renovation projects under way in the state. Brandy Hill Plaza in Mechanicsville (Richmond) is being expanded from 102,000 sq. ft. to 150,000 sq. ft. with the addition of new retail space, new office/medical space and the expansion of an existing Food Lion store. The center also will receive an updated facade, new main entrance and upgraded landscaping. The Food Lion expansion is expected to be completed in July, and the retail space is slated for completion in March 1999. CVS also anchors the center.

Also in Mechanicsville, Hanover Commons will increase in size from 70,000 sq. ft. to 85,000 sq. ft. The center is being expanded with the relocation of an existing Rite Aid store to an outparcel and, once completed, the demolishing of the former Rite Aid location to make room for a larger, 40,000 sq. ft. Food Lion store. Rite Aid is expected to be completed this month, with Food Lion finished by September.

Short Pump in Short Pump (Richmond) is being expanded from 120,000 sq. ft. to 200,000 sq. ft. The project will include the addition of a 50,000 sq. ft., 14-screen Regal Cinema and 30,000 sq. ft. of new retail space when it is completed in January 1999. Tenants include Skate Nation Ice Palace, American Family Health and Fitness, Spaghetti Warehouse, Arby's and Burger King.

* Potomac Yard Center, a 587,000 sq. ft. power center in Alexandria, opened in November. Additional in-line stores and pad sites are expected to open this summer. Anchors include Target, Shoppers Club, Staples, The Sports Authority, PetsMart, HomePlace, Barnes & Noble, Old Navy Clothing Co. and Hoyts Cinemas. The center is owned by Commonwealth Atlantic Properties Inc., Alexandria, and managed by Charles E. Smith Realty Cos., Arlington, Va.

* Brafferton Center in Garrisonville, owned by Bethesda, Md.-based First Washington Realty Trust Inc., recently underwent a facade and common area renovation. The project was completed in the third quarter of last year. Anchors at the 94,731 sq. ft. center include T.J. Maxx, Weis Market and Ross Dress for Less.

Two other similar renovations by First Washington are planned for Four Mile Fork Shopping Center in Fredericksburg and Kings Park Shopping Center in Burke. Completion is scheduled for the second quarter of this year on Four Mile Fork, a 101,262 sq. ft. center anchored by Safeway. Work will be completed on Kings Park, a 76,212 sq. ft. center anchored by Giant Food, in the third quarter of the year.

First Washington is expanding 113,992 sq. ft. Laburnum Park Shopping Center in Richmond. The project involves the expansion of existing anchor Ukrops and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year.

District of Columbia * The Shops at National Press, a 63,000 sq. ft. urban mall in Washington, is being redeveloped. In addition to extensive new merchandising, the streetscape will be remodeled with new signage and a new main entrance. Interior updates will include new lighting, new store signage and a new color scheme. The project is anchored by Filene's Basement and Corner Bakery and is expected to be completed in September. The Shops at National Press is owned and managed by Washington-based National Press Building Limited Partnership. It is being leased by The Retail Group, also based in Washington.

* Plans are in the works for Gallery Place, a 415,000 sq. ft. urban entertainment center in downtown Washington. The project will include 275,000 sq. ft. of retail shops and restaurants, a 140,000 sq. ft. theater complex and 120 residential units. It is being developed in partnership by Western Development Corp., Washington, Williams Jackson Ewing Inc., Baltimore, and The John Akridge Cos., Washington. Ground is expected to be broken in first quarter 1999 with completion set for fourth quarter 2000.

Maryland * Baltimore-based Prime Retail is developing Outlet Village of Hagerstown, an outdoor, village-style outlet shopping center in Hagerstown. The first phase, expected to be completed in August, will total 216,000 sq. ft. and feature approximately 50 stores. No anchors have been announced.

* The Retail Group, Washington, D.C., is the leasing and consulting firm for two redevelopment projects in the state. At 465,000 sq. ft. Laurel Lakes in Laurel, work that includes demolishing the courtyard, adding parking spaces and retenanting is under way with completion set for summer 1999. Existing anchors include Safeway, Best Buy, Kmart and Kids "R" Us. The center is owned by New York-based Dean Witter Realty Inc.

In Rockville, Rock Creek Village Shopping Center is being renovated, and a new, 45,000 sq. ft. Safeway grocery store will be constructed with completion set for spring 1999. The 100,000 sq. ft. center, anchored by Safeway and CVS, is owned and managed by Potomac, Md.-based Carl M. Freeman Management Co.

* Washington, D.C.-based GFS Realty Inc. has two projects under way in Maryland. A renovation and expansion of 355,000 sq. ft. Montrose Crossing in Rockville is expected to be completed in August. The project involves demolition of 30,000 sq. ft. of space, the addition of approximately 100,000 sq. ft. of space plus a four-level parking structure. New tenants to be added include Barnes & Noble, Mikasa, Hudson Trail, Old Navy Clothing Co. and Starbucks Coffee. The center currently is anchored by Giant Food and Drug, Marshalls, The Sports Authority and Levitz.

GFS Realty also is developing 105,000 sq. ft. Neelsville Village Center at Milestone in Germantown. The new project is part of a 900,000 sq. ft. power center development that will be opened in phases. The center is anchored by Giant Food and Drug, Cosmetic Center, Dress Barn/Dress Barn Woman and Rack Room Shoes, and is expected to open this summer.

* Redevelopment work is under way on 290,000 sq. ft. Arundel Plaza in Glen Burnie. First developed in the late 1960s, the center contains a 220,000 sq. ft., multi-story building originally constructed to house Sears as well as other retail space. The former Sears store is being demolished to make way for a 165,000 sq. ft. Lowe's store, expected to open in November. The plaza is anchored by Giant Food. Lutherville, Md.-based Mid-Atlantic Realty Trust recently purchased a 67 percent interest in Arundel Plaza and is handling the project.

* The Rouse Co., Columbia, Md., has four projects under way in the state:

- In Columbia, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor and additional new retail space will join Hecht's, JCPenney and Sears at The Mall in Columbia, increasing the center's size from 936,000 sq. ft. to 1.3 million sq. ft. Lord & Taylor is expected to open this fall, with Nordstrom opening in fall 1999. A renovation of the mall's interior also is taking place. Last November, Hecht's added a third floor to its existing store, increasing its size to 212,000 sq. ft.

- A renovation and remerchandising effort continues at Harborplace in Baltimore. Planet Hollywood broke ground in January on a 13,000 sq. ft., two-level restaurant, which will serve as the cornerstone of the project's Pratt Street Pavilion. It is expected to open in late spring. Other restaurants that have opened at Harborplace in the past two years include The Cheesecake Factory, Capitol City Brewing Co. and J. Paul's.

- This fall, Lord & Taylor, Sears and a General Cinema multiplex will join Hecht's, Macy's and JCPenney at Owings Mills Town Center in Owings Mills. The center will increase to a size of 1.2 million sq. ft. JCPenney opened its store last July.

- Lord & Taylor will open a store at White Marsh this summer, joining Hecht's, JCPenney, Macy's and Sears. The shopping complex in White Marsh totals 1.178 million sq. ft.

* Bethesda, Md.-based First Washington Realty Trust Inc. has renovated Southside Marketplace in Baltimore and expanded Valley Centre in Owings Mills. The projects were completed in third quarter 1997 and fourth quarter 1997, respectively. The 126,646 sq. ft. Southside Marketplace is anchored by Metro Supermarket, and the 260,000 sq. ft. Valley Centre is anchored by Weis Markets, T.J. Maxx and Ross Dress for Less.

* Cleveland-based Developers Diversified Realty Corp. and McLean, Va.-based Petrie Dierman Kughn are joint developers of two projects in the state. Ground recently was broken on Home Depot Centre in Salisbury, a 230,000 sq. ft. center anchored by Home Depot. Work will begin this summer on The Centre at Hagerstown, a 750,000 sq. ft. power center project expected to be completed in fall 1999.

* Ground is scheduled to be broken in August on The Village at Waugh Chapel, a 72-acre, mixed-use development in Crofton that will feature 440,000 sq. ft. of retail space, a 398-unit senior housing section and several amenities such as a children's park, walking trails and a pond with an ice skating rink. Safeway will be one of the anchors for the center, which is expected to open in September 1999. The project is a development of Annapolis, Md.-based Sturbridge Development Co.

* Tenants continue to open at The Avenue at White Marsh, a new project of Towson, Md.-based Nottingham Properties Inc., in White Marsh. The 300,000 sq. ft. center is anchored by Lowes Theatre, Old Navy Clothing Co. and A.C. Moore. Additional shops and restaurants are expected to open through the summer.

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