Wal-Mart may buy store site

January 07, 1994|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Staff Writer Staff Writer Consella A. Lee contributed to this article

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has signed a tentative agreement to buy the failed Leedmark store in Glen Burnie, further increasing the presence of the nation's largest retailer in Maryland.

Richard Schroeder, chairman of G. B. Glenmark Ltd. Co., which traded as Leedmark, confirmed yesterday that an agreement had been reached with Wal-Mart to buy the 250,000-square-foot building near the intersections of Route 10 and Ordnance Road.

"We have entered into a contract that has not been executed," he said, adding that a number of conditions must be met before the deal closes. He refused to disclose the sale price and said he did not know what Wal-Mart plans for the site.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sandy Brummett would not confirm that the Bentonville, Ark.-based company has conditionally agreed to buy the Leedmark store. Wal-Mart has a policy of not announcing new stores until their development is well under way.

Various Anne Arundel County government agencies said Wal-Mart has not filed any permit applications or other notifications concerning the Leedmark store.

The Leedmark store, which was opened in May 1991 by French retailer E. Leclerc Group, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November and closed on Dec. 30 after a two-month liquidation sale.

The Leedmark store is the fifth proposed site for new Wal-Mart operations in the Baltimore area. The discount chain already has 13 Wal-Mart stores in Maryland and three Sam's Clubs -- the company's membership warehouse operation. An additional six Sam's Clubs are opening in the state this month as Wal-Mart converts former Pace stores.

While neither Leedmark nor Wal-Mart will say what type of store would go in the former Leedmark building, a prime candidate is the company's Supercenter store, which is a combination grocery store and traditional Wal-Mart, according to Peter N. Schaeffer, a partner in Johnson Redbook Service, a New York company that follows retail stocks.

The Supercenters, which are 150,000 to 200,000 square feet in size, would be similar to the former Leedmark operation, which included a grocery store along with a large selection of other merchandise.

Wal-Mart has 67 Supercenters, most in the Midwest, and there are plans to open 73 more by Jan. 31, 1995, according to Ms. Brummett.

The Leedmark building is owned by a company called Invesdis, which owns a 71.43 percent share in New Eldis Corp., the parent company of G. B. Glenmark.

During a meeting with creditors on Wednesday, Mr. Schroeder said that the agreement with Wal-Mart was signed on Oct. 28 and he expects the deal to be concluded by the end of the month.

Two conditions for the sale include providing clear title to the property and resolving whether the small shops in the mall outside Leedmark will remain.

Even though Leedmark has closed, nine of the small retailers are still open.

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