Riverside developer moves ahead on plan for corporate center One million square feet of offices, warehouses possible at Harford site.

Commercial real estate

August 26, 1991|By Bruce Reid | Bruce Reid,Evening Sun Staff

The developer of Riverside, the largest planned residential development in Harford County, is moving ahead on the commercial and industrial phase of its plan that could create as much as 1 million square feet of office, warehousing and other space.

The project, known as the Riverside Corporate Center, is the next major step for Riverside, which covers nearly 1,500 acres off U.S. 40 in Belcamp, near the Bata Shoe Co. plant.

BLC Properties Inc., formerly known as Bata Land Co., recently received approval from Harford County of its preliminary plan for the corporate center, which covers about 200 acres.

Because the tract is interspersed with wetlands, only about half of it will be developed, said John Dixon, BLC's marketing manager.

"What it does lend itself for is campus-like office settings," Dixon said.

The corporate center tract is at the northeastern end of Riverside. Md. 7 is the northern border of the tract.

Dixon said a major selling point for the corporate center and Riverside as a whole is the year-old Md. 543 interchange with Interstate 95, about a mile north of Riverside.

The corporate center site is adjacent to the existing 300-acre Riverside Business Park, which has a number of office buildings, warehousing and distribution centers and other operations. Its major tenants include a vehicle-preparation outfit of Mercedes-Benz of North America, Massey-Ferguson, Independent Can Co. and a nearly complete distribution center for General Electric.

The 15 lots on the planned corporate center are zoned commercial-industrial and general industrial.

Dixon said BLC now is marketing the lots to potential builders and users, including businesses that may serve as contractors for nearby Aberdeen Proving Ground, a major Army research and weapons-testing site.

Some builders could break ground as soon as early 1992, he said. He added that BLC expects construction of the corporate center to take from two to four years.

BLC will not construct any buildings, he added. The company will provide graded sites with utilities to the property lines.

Meanwhile, a partnership involving BLC, members of the Klein ++ supermarket chain family and others is scheduled to break ground in December on a $9 million shopping center at Riverside.

The 100,000-square-foot shopping center is to accommodate 15 stores, including a dry cleaner, a video outlet, a liquor store and others. It is to be anchored by a Klein's grocery store.

The shopping center, which will serve residents of Riverside and nearby communities, is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 1992.

Riverside, under development for the past decade, is now the largest planned unit development in Harford with 1,200 residential units and another 1,500 planned.

The Riverside site was purchased by Bata Shoe Co. in the 1930s, which planned to turn it into a European-style company town, Dixon said. Bata, then based in Austria, dropped that plan with the onset of World War II.

Bata Shoe, now based in Toronto and one of the largest shoe makers in the world, maintains a limited boot manufacturing operation at its Belcamp plant, which was built in 1920.

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