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News Maryland Harford County Aberdeen Havre De Grace

Retail center, Hyatt Place hotel proposed near I-95, Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen

The Aberdeen area could soon get a new place to shop, and stay overnight, near the busy I-95 interchange at Route 22.

Nikos Kapsis, the longtime owner of the Holiday Inn Express and the Olive Tree restaurant off of Beards Hill Road, is proposing a shopping center and hotel on the other side of I-95 near Ripken Stadium.

The plan, which shows up to 40 20-by-85 foot retail spaces, two pad sites and a potential Hyatt Place hotel on 14 acres just north of Route 22 near Long Drive, will be submitted to the City of Aberdeen within a month, Tammy Lowry-Gault, operations director for I-95 LLC, the company developing the property, said Thursday.

The interstate highway runs just east of the property, and Long Drive is the main entrance road to the stadium are from Route 22.

Lowry-Gault, the general manager for the Holiday Inn, said the shopping plaza doesn't have a name yet.

"It is definitely going to be a great project, sort of like a mini-Avenue, like what you see at White Marsh," she said.

Possible tenants include businesses like Chipotle, Men's Wearhouse, FedEx, Trader Joe's, Ross or Marshalls, Lowry-Gault said.

Clothing stores are especially needed in Aberdeen, she noted.

"We are trying to target stores that Aberdeen does not have," Lowry-Gault, a board member of Aberdeen's Chamber of Commerce, noted.

"We feel that it's something that Aberdeen needs. In most cases, when you go to a store or you need things, you have to go to Bel Air or White Marsh," she said.

The shopping center would be 48,000 square feet, plus the pad sites, she said. It would not be in the style or design of the Avenue at White Marsh, but would have a water fountain or other feature and "an upscale look," she said. According to the plan, the individual retail spaces are

A similar project proposed for the stadium area 10 years ago, Fieldside Village, fell through when the economy slumped. Fieldside Village had been intended as a mixed-use and condominium complex, but only one building was built.

A new apartment project is under construction near the stadium.

Aberdeen Mayor Mike Bennett, who was not in office during the Fieldside Village proposal, said he nevertheless "really wasn't enthralled" with the previous project and is confident this one will be different.

"What I see of this, I am really, really encouraged by it," he said. "I like the flow and the thought process."

Bennett said it would be very complementary with the stadium and the businesses could easily attract people going to Ripken Stadium.

"I think all that is going to have a synergy together," he said.

Lowry-Gault said the existing houses, which are dilapidated and overgrown with plants, should be demolished within 30 days.

I-95 Center LLC bought the property three months ago. The developers met with Hyatt officials and "they love the location," she said of the hotel proposal.

The developers would run the hotel, but the stores would be leased. Lowry-Gault said they are also looking for a management company to oversee the retail.

She said there is no price tag yet on the project, but the hotel alone is expected to cost more than $15 million.

"We have heard the market is turning and we just want to be very careful about what we put there," she said about the site. "We are basically focusing on what will be good for Harford County and Aberdeen."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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