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Outlet mall set for new store openings

October 20, 1998

Prime OutletsSCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




An Eddie Bauer outlet store is among 21 new businesses opening at Prime Outlets at Hagerstown this month.

They will join the 55 stores in the 218,000-square-foot Phase I of the outlet mall, which opened in August.

Outlet mall officials said Monday that a Nov. 20 grand opening ceremony for Phase II will be combined with a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.

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Some stores in the 100,000-square-foot Phase II are already open for business.

Adidas opened its store Oct. 2, S&K Men's Wear opened last week and Paper Factory and Rue 21 will open later this week.

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"Eddie Bauer is going to be the biggest draw to this wing," said Gil Brooker, mall general manager. Some of the other stores also are expected to be popular, he said.

Auntie Anne's and Panda China Store will be added to the food court, he said. Liz Claiborne is moving into one of two vacant stores in the Phase I section, he said.

The Washington County Commissioners are to vote today on a special obligation bond of an amount not to exceed $2.5 million. The money will be used to pay for improvements being made as part of Phase II of the mall complex, near the interchange of Interstate 70 and Md. 65.

Prime Retail often uses such bonds as a financing tool, said company spokesman Brian Lewbart. The county is only acting as a conduit between the company and its bondholders, he said.

Today's vote is essentially a formality, said Washington County Finance Director Debra Bastian. The county would not have to repay the bond if the company were to default on it, she said.

The commissioners agreed in December 1997 to create a special taxing district for the outlet mall, which is owned and operated by Baltimore-based Prime Retail.

Company officials are working on a planned third phase, which would require building new stores and adding parking spaces.

They have begun calling some merchants to see if they would be interested in joining the next phase, Lewbart said. There is no estimate on when work on that phase might begin, he said.

On Monday, Florence Shawyer of Sharpsburg and her daughter, Joyce Funk of Keedysville, were taking a break from shopping, sitting on one of the benches at the outlet mall.

Funk said she is usually more of a Wal-Mart SuperCenter shopper, while Shawyer said she enjoys shopping where there is a variety of stores.

Both said they liked the outlet mall.

"The prices are not bad," Shawyer said. "The employees are helpful."

"It is nice because you get a different selection of stores," Funk said.

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