Wal-Mart Stores buys property in Southern Md.

April 24, 1991|By Timothy J. Mullaney

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is preparing to announce plans for its third store in Maryland, to be located in Prince Frederick in Calvert County.

A spokeswoman for the Bentonville, Ark.-based discount retailer said that the company doesn't plan to make an announcement about the Prince Frederick store until later this week, but BTR Realty Inc. of Linthicum said it has sold Wal-Mart a 4-acre tract for $2.3 million.

Wal-Mart has already announced plans for stores in Hagerstown and in Easton. The highly acclaimed retailing company is known for wide selection of merchandise, low prices and excellent management. Its chairman, Sam Walton, is the richest man in the United States, according to Forbes magazine.

Wal-Mart is also known for locating stores in small towns where it can dominate local markets. The Prince Frederick store will be in a county where the population is projected to be 67,200 in the year 2005, according to the "Maryland Business Almanac," a publication of The Sun.

Robert Fink, a spokesman for a public-relations agency retained by BTR, said the Linthicum firm put the Southern Maryland property on the market as part of a strategy to boost its financial flexibility by turning assets such as land into cash. The company said it made about $1.7 million on the sale of the property.

BTR, like other development companies, has had its share of struggles during the downturn in the commercial real estate industry. Analysts still regard the firm as relatively healthy because it has a number of operating properties, most of them shopping centers, that are built, rented and generating revenues despite the recession.

BTR said the land had been earmarked for a shopping center featuring an A&P supermarket as anchor tenant, but that plan was scrubbed late last year.

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman, Kristin Stebhan, said Wal-Mart planned an announcement about the Prince Frederick site later in the week and stopped short of confirming BTR's news.

"This company doesn't speak for Wal-Mart," Ms. Stebhan said. "I'm kind of disappointed that they released this."

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