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by Meg Tully

Urbana, IL — The developer of Urbana Villages wants a proposed outlet mall to fit into the overall vision for the town and to serve as a “front door to Frederick.”

Tom Natelli, president of Natelli Communities, visited outlet malls across the country and selected Baltimore-based Prime Retail because he believes the company will build a high-class mall.

“This has to be executed in a way that is kind of representative of what we all think Frederick wants to be, and is a high level of standard of design and finishes and high quality development,” Natelli said.

Frederick County has approved zoning for a 515,000-square-foot retail center as part of a retail/office complex on 212 acres between I-270 and Md. 355, south of Md. 80.

In revised plans submitted this year after Prime Retail was selected, Natelli is trying to increase the retail to 593,000 square feet.

The plans were originally approved in the late 1990s, and the retail climate has changed since then, he explained. “We need some minor modifications now to accommodate the current vision and how this needs to evolve.”

The original outlet center wasn’t built because developers’ projects in Leesburg and Hagerstown took precedence, he said.

About a year ago, his company was again approached by outlet developers. He believes the mall will be successful because of a higher design quality than competitors, and because it will be closer to Washington than malls in Hagerstown.

“What we’re doing is we’re essentially trying to develop a real sense of place in the design of it,” Natelli said. “And those are kind of the older model, where there’s stores lining parking lots.”

He predicts it will take about two years to get necessary approvals and 18 months to build. An opening is at least three years away.

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