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BALTIMORE-St. John Properties is planning a major renovation of its 161,000-sf retail center here, adding 7,000 sf and creating a Village “Main Street” environment. Lake Shore Plaza, which is nearly 100% leased, was constructed in the mid-1980s and is anchored by Safeway, Ace Hardware and Blockbuster Video. The company expects to begin construction this summer. A project completion date is set for early 2008.

Dennis Castleman, vice president of marketing, could not provide a cost estimate of the project as the plans have not been completely finalized. “We are still working through the details of the construction and infrastructure issues,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “Our intent is to increase the value of the center for both us, the tenants and the future tenants.” The additional 7,000 sf will also provide new leasing opportunities for St. John, according to Jerry Wit, senior vice president of marketing.

The plan devised by architectural firm Bignell Watkins Hasser includes exterior upgrades – a modernization of the canopy section, the replacement of the existing columns with new structures of round wood – as well as the addition of such architectural features as towers and roof scape. St. John Properties also intends to reposition the entrance road to Lake Shore Plaza and connect it to an existing drive at Lake Shore South, in order to create a more streamlined traffic pattern, and to allow for the development additional parking fields. To accommodate the new road, one of the buildings within Lake Shore Plaza will be turned approximately 90 degrees.

One reason for the project, according to Castleman, is that area dynamics are shifting and people are looking for more upscale shopping. The average household income exceeds $96,000 within a five-mile radius of the retail center.

“Our investment in this renovation program will benefit existing and future tenants at Lake Shore Plaza and bring it to the standards achieved by newer shopping center venues in the Anne Arundel County marketplace,” Wit says.

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