Shopping center will replace hotel Towson Quality Inn will close Oct. 3


A story in the Business section of The Sun yesterday incorrectly reported the name of the owner of a shopping center that is to be developed on the site of the Quality Inn in Towson. His name is Jack Pechter.

The Sun regrets the error.

Towson's Quality Inn is set to close Oct. 3 to make way for a 60,000-square-foot shopping center to be occupied by a computer superstore and a household furnishings store, the owner of the hotel said yesterday.

Jack Pechtman, president of JHP Development Inc. of Towson, said he couldn't name the tenants because final leases have not yet been signed. But he said the Radcliffe Center would open next summer, with construction beginning in mid-October.

"We're tearing down a hotel that was built in 1960," said Mr. Pechtman, who said a partnership controlled by his family has owned the York Road hotel just south of the Beltway for eight years. "You don't renovate a building like that. And you know banks don't want hotels."

Indeed, banks have been skeptical of lending for hotel construction because of an industry room vacancy rate that nears 40 percent. Mr. Pechtman said the Towson hotel averaged about 67 percent occupancy.

The hotel has a two-diamond rating from the Automobile Association of America.

Diane Forthuber, general manager of the 159-room hotel, said two of its three wings have already closed. The full closing will mean the loss of nearly 80 jobs, but she said the hotel has placed many employees in other businesses controlled by the hotel's owners. Where that has been impossible, the company is trying to place the workers with nearby businesses, she said.

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