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Report: Groceries, Restaurants, Lift Retail

Grocery stores and casual restaurants in Greater Baltimore gobbled up empty storefronts during the third quarter, helping landlords fill space that might have otherwise gone empty in a tough environment.

That’s according to a retail report from MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate.

ShopRite and SuperValu Corp.’s Shoppers Food & Pharmacy have taken up spots in former Superfresh locations in the walk of the grocer’s store closures and bankruptcy. ShopRite took over Superfresh stores in Timonium, North Baltimore and Parkville while Shoppers opened in Ellicott City.

A handful of quick-service restaurants, including Gino's Burgers & Chicken, Miss Shirley's, and the Green Turtle, have expanded with new locations.

Retail vacancy remained largely flat at 6.19 percent.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate

Medical Clinic Eyes Anne Arundel, Baltimore Counties

A growing neighborhood medical center is opening its third Anne Arundel County location.

Patient First will open a walk-in clinic in Odenton next year at 405 Gateway Blvd., its 14th center in Maryland.

The Glen Allen, Va., company also opened a medical facility in Catonsville this month. The 6,350-square-foot office has 12 examination rooms, emergency care, X-ray machines and an on-site lab.

“We talked to a lot of people in the area and a lot of them have gone to our Owing Mills or Glen Burnie location,” says Patient First spokesman David Clark.

Patient First operates 37 medical centers in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The Maryland facilities include locations in Aberdeen, Bel Air, Perry Hall, White Marsh, Baltimore, Lutherville, Owings Mills, Columbia, Catonsville, Glen Burnie and Pasadena.

Writer:Julekha Dash
Source: David Clark, Patient First

Candy Store Opens in Former Amaryllis Spot in Harbor East

Baltimore’s Harbor East neighborhood just got a little sweeter.

Candy shop the Best of Luck, opened this month at 612 S. Exeter St. in the former Amaryllis jewelry store space. The shop sells nostalgic candies – think pop rocks and Charleston Chews — gift baskets, chocolate-covered pretzels, gummy bears and saltwater taffy. It also features sugar-free concoctions.

After a career in the sports and entertainment industries, store owner Alexis Thompson wanted to start her own business.

“I always had a sweet tooth and a love for different kinds of candies,” Thompson says.

It’s a bit of a career change for the Baltimore-born Thompson, who represented Serena Williams, Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett, and pro golfer Michelle Wie as a junior agent at the William Morris Agency.

“I want to be my own boss,” she says.

She spent about $20,000 to open the store next to Whole Foods and hopes that the location next to Fells Point, Canton and downtown will help it get good foot traffic.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Alexis Thompson, Best of Luck

Canton Crossing Retail Site Moves Forward

A Baltimore design panel has given final approval to the Canton Crossing shopping center, one of the city’s largest retail sites currently under development.

The Urban Design and Review Panel gave the go ahead to Phase 1 of the project, which will encompass 325,000 square feet of retail. The site will contain two anchor tenants and several smaller shops, says Neil Tucker, a principal with developer Chesapeake Real Estate Group. Next the plan goes before the city’s planning commission, followed by the Baltimore City Council.

Chesapeake Real Estate Group and Birchwood Capital Partners in June acquired a 31-acre parcel from Exxon Mobil Corp. with the goal of adding two new retail centers on the site.

Tucker says he expects to break ground in the summer or the fall. He couldn’t divulge any tenants as the Baltimore real estate firm has not yet signed any leases, though it has several letters of intent.

The site is adjacent to Edwin F. Hale Sr.'s First Mariner Tower and the Merritt Athletic Club.

Real estate brokers had been trying to woo Target and Harris Teeter to Canton Crossing to the site since at least 2008, but development stalled as the economy sputtered.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Neil Tucker, Chesapeake Real Estate Group; Robert Quilter, Baltimore City

Developer Mulling $25 Million Hotel Expansion Near Arundel Mills

A new hotel near Arundel Mills could begin a $25 million expansion in a couple of years to meet the demand for rooms the owners expect once a slots casino opens.

The 150-room Hotel at Arundel Preserve could add another 100 rooms, says hotel General Manager Jeff Makhlouf. Construction would not begin until 2012.

The expansion would occur in a lot next to the boutique hotel.

Makhlouf describes the property as a “unique” product in an area that holds largely chain brands. The rooms are about two-thirds full now, but Makhlouf expects occupancy to hit 85 percent once the Cordish Co. builds its casino and entertainment complex next year.

If it doesn’t expand the hotel, developer Southern Management will build a Class A office building instead, Makhlouf says. It depends on whether it can get an anchor tenant to occupy the first few floors of the building.

The Vienna, Va., company is now conducting a feasibility study to determine the best use.

The Hotel at Arundel Preserve is part of a $150 million development that includes 242 apartments and several restaurants. The 156-seat Grillfire restaurant opened in July. Indian restaurant Rangoli will open in the next couple of months.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Jeff Makhlouf, Hotel at Arundel Preserve

Charm City Run Latest Tenant to Sign Up at McHenry Row

A running store, sub shop, and dentist are latest tenants to sign up for McHenry Row, an office, residential, and retail complex debuting this year in Locust Point.

Charm City Run and Horizon Dental will open in January, says developer Mark Sapperstein. Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches is expected to open by the end of the year.

It will be the local running store’s fifth location. The others are located in Bel Air, Timonium, Annapolis, and Clarksville. McHenry Row’s anchor tenant, Harris Teeter, will open Dec. 7.

The retail portion of the development is now 90 percent leased, Sapperstein says. Two spots totaling 7,200 square feet remain.

The Green Turtle Sports Bar & Grille, Yogi Castle, Red Parrot Asian Bistro, pet store Dogma, and Massage Envy are among the other shops opening this year.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Mark Sapperstein

Wine Bar Grand Cru Expands With New Gallery, Liquor License in Belvedere Square

Fans of Belvedere Square’s Grand Cru wine bar will soon get to sip their favorite chardonnay while biting into an Atwater’s sandwich — or gazing at local art.

Baltimore City’s liquor board recently approved the bar’s expansion to include the 6,400-square-foot Belvedere Square market. Within a week or two, patrons will be able to take wine and beer from the Grand Cru and drink it inside the market or while eating lunch at one of the outdoor tables.

Owner Nelson Carey has also received approval to allow patrons to bring alcohol to his new pop up art gallery and party room called Plywood. It's located at a few doors down from the wine bar. While Grand Cru has long featured local artists, Carey wanted a standalone space where he could showcase higher caliber photography, painting, and sculpture.

For now, the gallery is open only on Saturdays and by appointment. Carey says he hopes to book some holiday parties and other events at Plywood. He says he often has to turn away party requests for the Grand Cru because there isn’t enough space at the 1,600-square-foot bar to accommodate events in addition to his regular customers.

“With the gallery party space, we’ll be able to offer a cool, hip modern location,” Carey says.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Nelson Carey

Belvedere Square Getting Renovation, Hot Dogs, and Expanded Hours

A renovation and expansion are in the works for Belvedere Square market as existing stores expand and new ones join the mix next year.

Among the new tenants is Wurst, a shop selling German and Austrian-style hot dogs and sausages. Nelson Carey, owner of Belvedere Square’s Grand Cru wine bar, is spearheading the new venture to open by venture to open in March. Carey says he has scoured the nation to bring Belvedere Square patrons the best dogs from New York, Chicago, and other areas.

Why hot dogs? "Everyone loves hot dogs," Carey says.

Wurst is one of four new tenants coming to the market, says Bill Struever, managing director of Belvedere Square property manager Cross Street Partners. Struever declined to name the other three vendors as leases haven’t been signed.

In the coming months, several existing tenants will expand. They include sushi eatery Ikan, Atwater’s, and Neopol Savory Smokery. The market will close for a period next year to make way for the expansion and new tenants. The market hours will also be extended by an hour or two, closing at 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. at night, Struever says. Cross Street plans to also extend the sidewalk to double the outdoor seating capacity.

Elsewhere at Belvedere Square, Sofi’s Crepes will open next month in the former Starbucks spot on York Road. The creperie is moving its shop from downtown Baltimore's Women's Industrial Exchange to the North Baltimore shopping center. Its flagship store next to the Charles Theater will remain open.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Nelson Carey, Grand Cru; Bill Struever, Cross Street Partners

Andrew Marc, Talbots Outlets Coming to Arundel Mills

Shoes, diamonds, and fashion outlet stores are headed to Arundel Mills mall this fall — the latest new tenants for the shopping center getting a slots casino next year.

Maryland’s first Andrew Marc outlet store is one of the four new tenants. The 25-year-old retail chain will open a shop in November selling handbags, belts, travel bags, dresses, and outerwear.

Talbots Outlet will open its second Maryland store in November at Arundel Mills. The women’s clothing company, which started an outlet division two years ago, will open next to Last Call by Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, along with Andrew Marc.

"One of the things shoppers have been asking for is to bring in better fashion brands," says Wendy Ellis, the mall's director of marketing.

Shoe store Naturalizer will open in October, between Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th and Bass Pro Shops. It will be Naturalizer’s second Maryland store. The other one is located at the Mall in Columbia. Helzberg Diamonds will also open a store in October in this section of the mall. The 96-year-old jewelry store has three other shops in Greater Baltimore, at the Mall in Columbia, White Marsh Mall and Columbia Mall.

Arundel Mills mall gets 14 million visitors a year and is one of the top visitor destinations in Maryland. Those numbers will likely go up once Cordish Co. builds its mega casino and entertainment venue Maryland Live at Arundel Mills next year.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Wendy Ellis, Arundel Mills

Bethesda Firm Snatches Up Retail Properties Near Johns Hopkins Hospital

A Bethesda real estate firm has snatched up a slew of retail buildings in East Baltimore, hoping that its proximity to Johns Hopkins Hospital and a new charter school will make the portfolio a good long-term investment.

Spectrum Properties LLC purchased 2213-2241 Monument St. for $4.55 million from Miller Real Estate Co. KLNB Retail Investment Sales brokered the sale.

Encompassing one city block, the portfolio consists of eight stores totaling 32,000 square feet. Tenants include Shoe City, Foot Locker, Rainbow clothing, Kost Less, and Murry’s Food.

A number of vacant and boarded up homes surround the area. But Spectrum Principal Alan Hammerschlag hopes that will change in time as families and hospital workers move to the area. Johns Hopkins Hospital is constructing two 12-story towers for cardiovascular and pediatric care that will be completed next year.

Johns Hopkins University School of Education took over the day-to-day operations of the East Baltimore Community School, located near the site. 

Spectrum’s other Baltimore properties include the Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club at Port Covington and Beltway Crossing Shopping Center in Glen Burnie.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Alan Hammerschlag, Spectrum

Corner Stable to Replace Michael's in Columbia's King's Contrivance Village Center

The Corner Stable, a family-owned restaurant in Cockeysville, is opening a second restaurant in the King's Contrivance Village Center in Columbia in October.

Known for its ribs and crab cakes, the 6,000-square-foot restaurant will replace longtime local watering hole Michael's Pub that closed earlier this year.

Co-owner Charles "Chip" Reed says he plans to hire between 65 and 85 full-time workers to staff the new restaurant. Reed says he and his wife Randy Reed have been scouring the Greater Baltimore region for a second location for years. They said they settled on Columbia because they thought a family-owned restaurant and bar could stand out among the area's many chain establishments. And many of the area's restaurants are bustling on the weekends.

There's also ample parking in the shopping center, which includes Harris Teeter, a CVS pharmacy, and a consignment shop, Reed says.

Close to Routes 29 and 32 and Interstate 95, the location will hopefully draw folks who live in Ellicott City, Laurel, Elkridge, and Silver Spring.

Reed says he plans to spruce up the interior with large-screen televisions and a pool table. His nephew Bryan Hiller will manage the restaurant.

The Corner Stable in Cockeysville opened in 1971. The Reeds have owned it for 10 years.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Charles "Chip" Reed, Corner Stable

Rice Krispies Treats Cafe to Open in Rosedale

A Baltimore area entrepreneur hopes to find sweet success by turning a childhood treat into a business.

Nikki Lewis will sell a variety of rice krispies treats at Mallow Munchies caf�. She'll spend about $50,000 to open the Rosedale dessert shop inside a strip mall at 8767 Philadelphia Rd.

She's giving the dessert an upgrade with ingredients like Belgian dark chocolate. The Trail Munch features dried cranberries and toasted pumpkin seeds while the Toffee Nut Munch is made with salted cashews and toffee. The desserts were named best sweet snack by Baltimore magazine last year.

Since cupcakes have been all the rage in recent years, fancy rice krispies treats should offer a good alternative for sweet tooths, Lewis says. The entrepreneur has made some inroads with restaurants, caf�s, and grocery stores. Whole Foods Market in the mid-Atlantic has agreed to sell the sweets. So far, the Whole Foods in Baltimore's Harbor East sells them, with others to follow.

Zeke's Coffee, Grilled Cheese & Co., Eddie's Market of Charles Village, and Milk and Honey Market Baltimore sell the confections as well. You can also find the treats at Baltimore area farmers' markets.

Lewis is raising some of the money to fund the caf� on Kickstarter.com, a website that allows individuals to raise money for creative projects.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Nikki Lewis

Howard County Hair Salons Merge

An 11-year-old salon has moved to a new part of Howard County where its owner hopes she can get greater visibility and capitalize on a growing area.

Biago Salon & Day Spa has moved to Route 216 in Highland from a shopping center in Clarksville. Owner Lynn Lazzara has moved into the same space as Living Dolls Beauty Salon, which Owner Jane Caswell operates out of her home.

Caswell plans to retain her business under the same name.

Lazzara hopes the move will reduce her overhead expenses and bring in more business since the salon is located on a busy road. Biago offers haircuts, pedicures, manicures, waxing, and facials.

Though the former space was in the same shopping center as Great Sage vegan restaurant and organic grocer Roots, it was tucked away and not as visible to drive-by traffic, she says.

The salon owners spruced up the space to prepare for the merged businesses, including resurfacing the floors, adding new window treatments, and paint.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Lynn Lazzara, Biago Salon & Day Spa; Jane Caswell, Living Dolls

Here�s the Dish: National Kitchen Company Opens First Greater Baltimore Store

Corningware Corelle Revere has opened a store in Hanover's Arundel Mills mall, its first in the Greater Baltimore region and second spot in Maryland.

The 4,000-square-foot store, which opened July 22, sells flatware, glasses, dishes, and other kitchen items. World Kitchen LLC manufactures and distributes the store's products under the Corelle, Pyrex, Corningware, Chicago Cutlery, Baker's Secret, and Snapware brand names. The shop is located between Best Buy and Medieval Times.

World Kitchen chose the Anne Arundel County location because it gets plenty of tourists, says Keri Durkin, vice president of merchandising and marketing for the Rosemont, Ill., company. The mall gets 14 million visitors a year and is one of the top visitor destinations in Maryland.

Those numbers will likely go up once Cordish Co. builds its mega casino and entertainment venue Maryland Live at Arundel Mills next year.

The mall, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary in November, is trying to shake up its retail mix.

"Retail is very cyclical," says Wendy Ellis, Arundel Mills' director of marketing and business development. "What consumers want is always changing and we work hard to bring what they want."

Ellis says Corningware Corelle suited the mall because it fits into its mix of mainly discount and outlet stores. Coringware Corelle's other Maryland store is at the Hagerstown Premium Outlets.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Wendy Ellis, Arundel Mills; Keri Durkin, World Kitchen LLC

Boutique Hotel Opening Near Arundel Mills in $150M Complex

Southern Management Corp., known for its portfolio of apartment holdings, is opening a 150-room boutique hotel by early August as the developer hopes to capitalize on the tourism revenue expected from the casino debuting next year at Arundel Mills mall.

The Hotel at Arundel Preserve
is part of a $150 million development includes 242 apartments, which opened this month, and Grillfire restaurant. The project is part of the 268-acre Arundel Preserve complex that includes shops, offices, apartments, and restaurants.

The 156-seat Grillfire will open July 28. The sixth restaurant of New York's George Martin Group, the steakhouse will also serve seafood, salads, and chicken dishes.

The hotel will house three other restaurants, including Indian eatery Rangoli, says John Cohan, Southern Management's director of marketing.

The Vienna, Va., developer saw an "untapped market." Though the area around Arundel Mills mall is chock full of hotels, many are chain hotels targeting business travelers flying through Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Cohan says. Southern Management is hoping that an independently owned boutique hotel will stand apart for leisure travelers looking to press their luck at the slots machines.

The company also hopes to appeal to the thousands of defense contractors that will move and work in the area due to the federal government's Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: John Cohan, Southern Management
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