Verizon to Open First Washington County Store at Valley Mall

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. — Verizon will open its first wireless retail store in Washington County inside the former Sears Auto Center at the Valley Mall.

Verizon filed a building permit on Thursday, Oct. 19, for a 3,652 square-foot space in a renovated building that will also house BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. The application shows the store will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Saturday, and number of employees will range from eight to 10. No opening date is provided.

It’s been a longtime coming for Verizon to finally break into Hagerstown. The LTE coverage map shows that most of Washington County is now covered, but it’s surprising it hasn’t happened sooner considering the number of residents who commute daily from the Hagerstown region into the Verizon coverage area.

Unfortunately, this does not mean Verizon FIOS TV and Internet will be available in the county. Verizon offers “high speed” Internet up to 15 Mbps through DSL but no broadband service, leaving Schurz Communications’ Antietam Cable, I’m sorry, Antietam Broadband, as the only game in town. Only certain parts of the county have Comcast as an option.


Hagerstown Macy’s Building Sold To Valley Mall Owner

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. — The owner of the Valley Mall outside of Hagerstown, Md., has purchased the former Macy’s building.

A landholding company for Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust called PR Valley Anchor M- Limited Partnership, bought the shuttered Macy’s building attached to the Valley Mall for $2.5 million on April 7, according to a deed filed in Washington County.

The building was originally a Hecht’s department store that opened in 1999. Hecht’s was a Baltimore born retailer later owned by May Department Stores. Hecht’s and May Department Stores was acquired by Macy’s parent Federated Department Stores in 2005. The following year, Macy’s replaced Hecht’s name on its buildings, as it did with many other department stores it acquired.

The move gives the mall operator direct control over what goes into that space by being the sole owner. Sometimes malls can have messy relationships with shuttered anchors, with the anchors preferring to sell and market the property themselves to recapture some profit. That could cause a multi-year vacancy.

In March, the Washington County Board of Elections received approval from the Washington County Commissioners for a 20,000 square-foot space in the 120,000-square-foot building, according to a Herald-Mail report. That also shows that the former Macy’s will likely be carved out into multiple spaces for stores, offices and other uses.


Torrid, NTB File Building Permits for Valley Mall

160520_logoWASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. — Trendy full-figure clothing store Torrid and car repair shop NTB have both filed building permits for new stores at the Valley Mall in Hagerstown, Md.

Torrid’s permit shows the store expects to have 10 employees and will go into the former CJ Banks space in the JC Penney wing. CJ Banks transformed into a Christopher and Banks a few doors down last year.

An opening date has not been announced. The store’s careers website shows Torrid is accepting applications for a manager, a full-time assistant manager, a part-time assistant manager and store associates.

Also, NTB has filed a site plan for a location along Valley Mall Road and Massey Boulevard for a spot beside Chuck-E-Cheese and Burger King.National_Tire_and_Battery_Logo.jpg

NTB, formerly known as National Tire and Battery, helps replace the shuttered Sears Auto Center where a BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse will be built. Job openings have not been posted for the Hagerstown location.

Both store openings were first reported on this blog in May 2016.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse Coming to former Hagerstown Sears Auto

seattletukwilaWASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. — BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse will be coming to the former Sears Auto Center at the Valley Mall in Hagerstown, Md., in 2017.

According to a Seritage Growth Properties quarterly report, BJ’s Brewhouse, as it’s commonly called, is expected to start construction in the fourth quarter of this year and open in the fourth quarter of 2017, which is sometime between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2017.

The restaurant will be about 7,000 to 8,000 square feet, according to a Seritage news release.

As I previously reported, both the Hagerstown Sears and Sears Auto Center properties are tagged for recapture of its retail spaces, advertised by KLNB. Seritage is a real estate investment trust whose main investments are Sears and Kmart properties, according to its website. Up to half of the Sears department store in the mall is being recaptured for an unnamed retailer and the Sears Auto Center, which closed in May, will be completely renovated. Actually, likely demolished and new space will be rebuilt.

The project is 15,000 square feet, according to the report, and “additional restaurant users” will have spaces there.

The Huntington Beach, Calif., restaurant group is a casual-plus operation that has four formats: BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery, BJ’s Pizza and Grill and BJ’s Grill.

The signature dish at BJ’s is its deep dish pizza, and BJ’s offers vegetarian, gluten-free and other options among its pizzas, sandwiches, salads and more.

What’s impressive in the age of “no reservations” is that BJ’s does have a reservations policy:

We take reservations for large parties of 10 or more. Your party must be 75% complete in order to be seated. We generally do not take reservations for the first 30 days of a new restaurant opening, so that our new staff can become even more capable of servicing our large parties. Please contact your local BJ’s Restaurant for more information.

The Hagerstown location is tabbed right now as a BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, which is a format the company is focused on expanding among its 175 restaurants and counting in 23 states. This would be the fourth location in Maryland behind Frederick, Laurel and Towson.Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 9.00.05 PM

The Restaurant & Brewhouse format does not have on-site brewing and the BJ’s branded beers are brewed by a partner, according to the restaurant’s website. No building permits have been filed as of June 14, but it’s unlikely the format would change.

— By Charles Schelle @ImYourChuck

Sarasota Area Media Follow-up on My Westfield Lawsuit Blog

UPDATE: Sometimes there’s an advantage to being late to the party.

The Herald-Tribune filed its version of the Westfield/Benderson/Dillard’s lawsuit on Thursday, which allowed the reporter to really avoid rehashing or going into the lawsuit much at all.

The reporter lucked out that a second operating agreement/easement appeared in the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s system to give the added detail that as many as three tenants could take up the former Dillard’s space.

Maggie Menderski reported that the easement document revealed that a Florida-based furniture store is expected to move in along with another mystery tenant:

Siesta Retail also is pursuing a lease with Naples-based Clive Daniel Home, according to the documents. The home store has a wide inventory of indoor and outdoor furniture as well as bedding, rugs, flooring and window treatments. Smaller items, such as placemats and throw pillows, also are available. The chain launched in 2011 and opened its second store in Boca Raton in February.

The home store is expected to occupy about 33,000 square feet, leaving about 26,000 square feet for a third, unnamed tenant.

As a footnote, it’s interesting to see the second easement being filed as the existence of an updated agreement/easement being filed was one of the issues in court.

Well, since Benderson had tenants lined up now it probably made sense to avoid further issues and write up a new one given the circumstances.

ORIGINAL: Sarasota, Fla., area media have followed up on my Monday blog about the Westfield/Benderson/Dillard’s lawsuit and uncovered a couple items.

(When shall I expect a check, Alex et. al? Or at least a bottle of Siesta Key Rum?)

The Bradenton Herald was first to run a brief Tuesday night, but the Observer managed to move the story forward Wednesday morning revealing that L.A. Fitness will go into that space and the rest will remain to be seen:

An L.A. Fitness will occupy a little less than half of the 96,000-square-foot space, and is scheduled to open in spring of 2017. The firm has applied for a $60,000 building permit for interior renovations to the property, according to city records.

“We are working on the remainder of the space,” Mathes said in an email.

So the excitement continues!

The City of Sarasota also shows its building permit applications online with notes but this one required a phone call and an email with at least the city or Mathes—whomever could respond first—to see what the permit was actually for. All the city’s permit site says is “former Dillard’s Building.”

Several other permits have been stuck in pending for awhile, ranging from recent applications for staging for the project, utilities relocation and tree removal. The biggie—building the first of the new wings—has been pending for over a year and according to a planner’s note from last week, will have a new permit number entered in now that work is anticipated to move forward.

So yes, now that the lawsuit disappeared, all of this can move forward.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune — the daily paper with the largest circulation and staff in the area — has not published anything on this as of 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 1, so if there’s anything more uncovered out of that paper’s report if they print something, I’ll add it here.

Goodwill opening, Monkey Joe’s leaving South End Shopping Center

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 11.04.43 AM.pngGoodwill Horizon will open a store in Hagerstown, Md.’s South End Shopping Center while Monkey Joe’s will vacate its space in the shopping center.

A real estate brochure from MacKenzie Commercial shows the company is advertising a 14,600-square-foot space for lease where Monkey Joe’s is at now, 1113 Maryland Ave., Hagerstown. That’s between Dollar General and Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts.

You can see the photo above showing Monkey Joe’s still in the space and the brochure showing that space is now for lease. It’s unclear if Monkey Joe’s has found another space in the area, but the bounce house biz has heated up in Hagerstown when Sky Zone Trampoline Park opened on Insurance Way. I reached out to Monkey Joe’s via Twitter and will update if they add any detail.

The center is owned and managed by Coastal Equities, which does not show the Monkey Joe’s for lease on its site yet, but both MacKenzie and Coastal both reveal that Goodwill will open a new store beside Kid’s First Swim School.

The 18,691-square-foot Goodwill will split space in the former Big Lots, according to Coastal Equities’ website. 

—Charles Schelle | ImYourChuck

Mission BBQ, Torrid and Sears Redevelopment coming to Valley Mall

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 10.04.24 PM

By Charles Schelle | ImYourChuck on WordPress

Follow on Twitter @ImYourChuck

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. — The Valley Mall in Hagerstown, Md., will see about a dozen changes this year as it continues its redevelopment to focus on adding restaurants and experiential retail to cater to millennials.

I covered these in separate posts on my Facebook page and will condense it all here. There’s a lot going on as retailers are shuffling around to fit in all of these changes.

So, here…we…go…

Here’s what’s coming and then I’ll go into how this all makes sense. The information comes from both Washington County Department of Planning records and a leasing brochure for the mall from its owner Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, or PREIT.



  • Journeys and Journeys Kidz
  • Tobacco Den
  • Allegany Optical


  • Sears Auto Center (closed in May) [See above for update]
  • Potentially half of Sears’ department store

Mission BBQ

The former Susquehanna Bank near the Sears entrance and current Tobacco Den space is being carved out for several projects, creating three spaces along the mall’s facade to continue a town center look.

Mission BBQ and the Valley Mall have now filed a building permit for its construction for the new restaurant on Thursday, according to county records, in part of that space. It will be located next to the mall entrance.

The 4,000-square-foot restaurant will feature an outdoor patio and will be open 11 a.m. to 9 .m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, according to the permit application. Continue reading Mission BBQ, Torrid and Sears Redevelopment coming to Valley Mall