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Officials: Company has sights on Waynesboro Ames site

April 15, 2004|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Negotiations are under way to bring a Peebles Department Store into the space vacated by an Ames Department Store in Wayne Heights Mall, officials on both sides of the talks said Wednesday.

Tom Simmons, spokesman at Kimco Realty Co.'s regional office in Lutherville, Md., which bought the Wayne Heights Mall in October, said his company is negotiating with Peebles, "but nothing has been signed yet."

Jerry Zeigler, zoning enforcement officer for Washington Township, said Kimco is also in negotiations with another retailer to bring a discount general store into the former Ames store.

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The store has 43,000 square feet, Simmons said.

Steve Hannah, vice president of advertising at Peebles headquarters in South Hill, Va., said, "Something could happen. Nothing's been signed yet," he said.

He said Peebles Department Stores are similar to Bon-Ton stores, but on a smaller scale. The closest Peebles store to Waynesboro is in Gettysburg, Pa. The company's Web site says Peebles operates more than 140 stores in 17 states.

Simmons said Peebles will be able to compete with a Wal-Mart store expected to open next year in a new shopping mall to be built in Rouzerville, Pa., because Peebles offers a different shopping experience, especially in customer service.

He said Kimco acquired Wayne Heights Mall when it bought the holdings of Mid-Atlantic Realty Trust. Kimco's only other property in the area is an open-air shopping center under development in Urbana, Md., in Frederick County.

Kimco's corporate headquarters are in New Hyde Park, N.Y. It is the largest owner of open strip shopping centers in the country with more than 750 nationwide, Simmons said.

Simmons said Kimco's plans for renovating the vacant Ames store will include overall cosmetic upgrades and improvements at Wayne Heights Mall in an effort to attract new tenants. He said the company hopes to have the Ames project completed by the end of the year.

The Wayne Heights Mall is anchored on the west end by a Martin's Food Market and at the east end by the now empty Ames.

In between are smaller retail outlets, five of which are empty.

Stores doing business in the mall include Holiday Hair, Taste of China, Dru's Books 'N Things; an Eckerd Drugs store that includes a J.C. Penney catalog order and pickup center and a retail kiosk in the hallway.

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