It's official: JC Penney coming to Abingdon

The leasing agent at the Boulevard at Box Hill retail center in Abingdon formally announced Thursday that JC Penney will become the second anchor at the shopping center, joining Wegmans which opened last fall.

MacKenzie Retail LLC said Penney will occupy an 85,775-square-foot building that is expected to be ready for occupancy this fall. The building has been fast tracked through the Harford County permitting process.

The Aegis reported in early January that it was highly likely Penney would be coming to Boulevard at Box Hill, which is off of Route 924.

"We look forward to welcoming JC Penney to our growing community," MacKenzie Retail LLC Senior Vice President/Principal Thomas L. Fidler Jr. said in a news release. "Their commitment to style and quality will complement our existing tenant mix, helping Box Hill to elevate to our target audience's high expectations."

Fidler represented the landlord/developer, Harford County-based Ward Development Group, while the tenant was represented by KLNB Retail.

"The Ward Family made a commitment to developing Harford County's premier retail destination for a true shopping experience," Jim Martin, president of Ward Development Group, said in the same news release. "By having JC Penney as the newest addition to our growing tenant mix, this will allow us to go after many of the national retailers that have always wanted to be in Harford County, but could not identify the right location."

"The recent exciting news about JC Penney, and their new energy, to be one of the country's prominent retailers only furthers our excitement for what the Boulevard at Box Hill can become," Martin added.

JC Penney recently changed its leadership and is making a number of changes in pricing across its 1,100 department stores and on according to recent news reports.

In interviews with the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, new JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson said the retailer was offering far too many items on sale every day. Johnson told the Journal that sales turn off customers who must play a waiting game to get deals. So, instead Penney will offer everyday pricing and fewer sales. He also said the company would be making improvements to the mix of products and services offered at its stores.

The Boulevard at Box Hill is about a mile from the I-95/Route 24 interchange and a few miles south of Bel Air. A number of office buildings and the Abingdon Y are close by the retail development.

According to the MacKenzie news release, Boulevard at Box Hill will have more than 450,000 square feet of retail space and another 50,000 square feet of restaurants, ranging from casual fare to specialty dining. In addition to Wegmans, other tenants include Joe's Crab Shack, which opened last month, Panera Bread and PNC Bank.

An additional 88,000 square feet of multi-level office buildings are also planned to complement the 200,000 square feet of space existing in the nearby Box Hill Corporate Center.

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