WALDORF, MD-Madison Marquette plans to expand the Festival, a 500,000-sf retail center by adding a lifestyle component. It has acquired an 8.2-acre parcel from the developers of Waldorf Tech Park which it will develop into a more than 40,000-sf center that will include boutique retailers, walkways for pedestrians and other amenities.

Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2007 with a target completion date in spring 2008. Financial details of the transaction were not released.

The planned upgrades to the Festival will be primarily cosmetic, with an eye to attracting more upscale tenants, David Brainerd, managing director for investments of Madison Marquette, tells GlobeSt.com. “We have already received significant interest from national and local restaurant and retail operators.” Festival at Waldorf is anchored by Circuit City, Babies R Us, Michael’s Arts & Crafts, the Room Store, Ross Dress for Less, Marshall’s, PetSmart and Modell’s Sporting Goods.

The Waldorf market, which is within commuting distance from Washington, DC, is rapidly maturing and underserved in quality retail, Brainerd notes. “We don’t think the buildings reflect the maturing of that market or meet all of its needs.”

Pat Faux, president of the consulting firm the Faux Group, who serves on the Site Design and Architectural Review Board for Charles County, says the redevelopment is one of a handful of mixed-use projects under way in the county. “You can expect to see additional announcements [from other developers] within the year.”

Developers have stepped up their activity in this area over the last six months, agreed John Reardon, director of the Economic Development Department for Charles County. “We expect interest to intensify even more in the coming months.” According to Reardon, the retail base in the county has been growing between 200 to 250 sf per year over the last few years. Large retail facilities and shopping centers average between $400 and $500 per sf in sales in the county.

Headquartered in Washington, DC, Madison Marquette is active in the Greater Washington area. According to Brainerd, the company is in the process of submitting, along with a team, a bid for a request for proposal to redevelop a 20-acre waterfront site in southwest Washington. Also, a few weeks ago it signed its last retail lease for a hardware store at the 4500 Wisconsin Ave. redevelopment project in the Friendship Heights neighborhood. That development includes 200 condos, which are 95% leased.

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