Thursday, September 27 – WOC Movie Theater Out; Major Retailer In

WEST OCEAN CITY – The Fox Theater at the White Marlin Mall in West Ocean City showed its final movie last weekend and is now being prepared as a site for one of the latest major chain retailers in the area.

The Greenberg Gibbons Commercial Corporation, owners of the White Marlin Mall along Route 50 in West Ocean City, confirmed this week the movie theater, which has been a cornerstone of the shopping center since it opened in 1987, is now permanently closed. It will be replaced with a new Michael’s store, the national chain specializing in arts and crafts and other goods.

In addition, a Bed, Bath and Beyond store is also proposed as part of the redevelopment of the White Marlin Mall with both stores expected to be open in the spring of 2008, according to Matt Mittenthal of Greenberg Gibbons Commercial Corp.

“Bed, Bath and Beyond will occupy the space between the Cutting Crew and the Dollar Tree, and Michael’s will take over the theater space,” he said. “We expect to have them both open by this spring.”

Greenberg Gibbons has already presented plans for the Bed, Bath and Beyond to the county, but the developer has not yet presented plans for the redevelopment of the movie theater property into a Michael’s, which signed with the corporation earlier this year for the 20,000-square-foot space.

Michael’s is the largest specialty retailer of arts and crafts in the country with 900 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Michael’s operates 21 locations throughout Maryland with an outlet in Salisbury currently the closest to the resort area. Each store carries more than 40,000 products and offers a wide range of products in categories including apparel arts, bakeware, beads/jewelry making, fine art, floral, framing, general crafts, kids crafts, home décor, paper crafts, seasonal, wedding, and yarn and needle crafts.

The 186,000-square-foot White Marlin Mall opened in 1987 along Route 50 in West Ocean City.

The mall has seen its share of tenants come and go over the years, but the addition of the Michael’s and the Bed, Bath and Beyond next spring will add stability to the shopping center as it continues to be redeveloped.

In 2003, Greenberg Gibbons began an extensive renovation and re-tenanting program that included the addition of major anchor stores such as Staples and Marshalls.

See The Dispatch tomorrow morning for the latest news of the week.