Per­ryville Out­let Cen­ter of­fi­cially closes

Ea­gles, Pan­thers set to face off on grid­iron Owner in talks with po­ten­tial buyer

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— Af­ter a more than 25-year ex­is­tence dur­ing which its stores dropped from 45 to just four, the Per­ryville Out­let Cen­ter has of­fi­cially closed.

The be­lea­guered shop­ping cen­ter on Heather Lane off Route 222 closed Satur­day, Mary Ann Skilling, town plan­ner for Per­ryville,

PER­RYVILLE

told the mayor and com­mis­sion­ers at the town meet­ing on Tues­day.

“And it’s po­ten­tially be­ing sold,” she added.

But Peter Mathieson, as­set man­ager for The Shops at Per­ryville LLC, said noth­ing has been set­tled yet.

“We are in dis­cus­sions with a po­ten­tial buyer,” he said Wed­nes­day. “It’s high­est and best use is in the process of be­ing de­ter­mined.”

The Shops at Per­ryville LLC pur­chased the prop­erty in 2007 for about $7.4 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to state land records.

The out­let cen­ter had been op­er­at­ing for 26 years and, in the begin­ning, was at full ca­pac­ity with 45 stores in­clud­ing pop­u­lar brands such as Bass Shoes, Nike, Osh Kosh B’Gosh, Mikasa, Dress Barn, Rue 21 and Fa­mous Footwear.

As va­can­cies in­creased through the years, how­ever, the owner kicked off a round of ren­o­va­tions in 2014, up­dat­ing the pub­lic re­strooms at the cen­ter, erect­ing a large tent to cre­ate a

check-in area for pas­sen­gers ar­riv­ing by tour bus, and re­pair­ing the side­walks and park­ing lot. Ten va­cant store­fronts were leased to one com­pany that year as well, which planned to sub­let them to other stores and busi­nesses.

The out­lets be­gan re­ceiv­ing bus tours in 2006, bring­ing in at its peak about 500 buses a month, ac­cord­ing to past re­ports. Asian vis­i­tors were a com­mon sight with bilin­gual signs also be­ing found through­out the fa­cil­ity.

As the econ­omy waned over the past few years though, a va­ri­ety of shops came and went from the out­lets, from sa­lons to restau­rants, re­sale stores to spe­cialty shops. Nike, Dress Barn, Van Hue­sen and Leggs, which were all orig­i­nal ten­ants when the out­let cen­ter opened, closed at the end of De­cem­ber 2014 while Jones New York left in May 2015. In Au­gust 2015, the Sears Home­town Store, con­sid­ered one of the last an­chor stores for the out­lets due to its name-brand recog­ni­tion, shut its doors.

As the big­gest names be­gan leav­ing, the out­lets’ own­er­ship be­gan talked about a change in di­rec­tion for the 41-acre par­cel, in­clud­ing a po­ten­tial change in zon­ing to open up new pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Per­ryville is in the process of up­dat­ing its list of en­ter­prise zone prop­er­ties to in­clude the prop­erty, which is zoned high­way com­mer­cial. Once ap­proved, any de­vel­oper who uses the site for such uses as light in­dus­trial, ware­houses, dis­tri­bu­tion or man­u­fac­tur­ing could get prop­erty tax ben­e­fits from both the town and Ce­cil County.

“The prop­erty has a very im­por­tant and strate­gic lo­ca­tion,” Mathieson said. “It’s de­ploy­ment will be a good thing for ev­ery­body.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

A sign list­ing the Per­ryville Out­let’s for­mer stores over­looks a de­serted park­ing lot af­ter the out­lets of­fi­cially closed on Satur­day.

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