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Valley Mall may expand

April 21, 1998|By STEVEN T. DENNIS

HALFWAY - The owners of Valley Mall expect later this year to announce plans to expand the mall.

Crown American, the Johnstown, Pa.-based company that owns Valley Mall, is negotiating with a major department store to add a fourth anchor, according to Crown spokeswoman Chris Menna.

"We're working toward being able to announce something," she said.

The expansion, which would include a new wing at the rear of the mall, is contingent on signing a fourth anchor, Menna said.

A food court also is under consideration, she said.

Menna said the expansion plans wouldn't be affected by the construction of Prime Retail's $40 million Outlet Village of Hagerstown at the Sharpsburg Pike/Interstate 70 interchange or the planned construction of the $40 million Centre at Hagerstown at the U.S. 40/Interstate 81 interchange.

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Crown knew about the shopping centers when it bought the 700,000-square-foot mall in November, she said. Crown paid about $32 million for the mall to Prime Property Fund. Prime Property bought the mall in 1989 for $61.2 million and spent millions of dollars to upgrade the property.

Menna said the other shopping centers, rather than taking customers from Valley Mall, could draw more shoppers into the area. Menna said it's hard to know the extent of the competition for customers without knowing what stores will open at the other centers.

An expansion of 24-year-old Valley Mall has been contemplated several times by previous owners.

In 1996, Compass Retail Inc., which managed the mall for Prime Property, said it intended to expand the mall and was negotiating to add a Hecht's department store.

In addition to the two new shopping centers, Garrett & Smith Inc., a development company from Cabin John, Md., wants to develop 85 acres south of the mall into a large retail area similar to Wesel Boulevard.

That development would include an extension of Massey Boulevard that would connect to Virginia Avenue.

Crown American's holdings include the Martinsburg (W.Va.) Mall, the Chambersburg (Pa.) Mall and the Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick, Md.

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