A Minnesota-based discount retail chain has paid Westminster Nurseries Inc. $3.2 million -- $245,865 an acre -- for 13 acres of land on the north side of Malcolm Drive and Route 140, where it plans to open a Target store in July.
Dayton Hudson Corp., parent of Target Stores, announced plans yesterday to open 13 Target stores in Maryland next year -- nine in July and four in October. The Target store planned for Westminster will join existing discount retailers Caldor, Kmart and Wal-Mart along Route 140.
Westminster real estate consultant James H. Dulany said yesterday that the sale is so recent that he can't speculate about what impact the sale price will have on other potential commercial sites along Route 140.
"There just haven't been enough sales to say that properties [on Route 140] generally bring $200,000 or generally bring $250,000 an acre," Mr. Dulany said.
Dayton Hudson may recoup some of its purchase price by selling two one-acre parcels that front on Route 140 between Malcolm Drive and Griffith Auto Park.
Owners of the Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain are interested in one parcel but see the $1 million asking price as an obstacle.
"We're still evaluating it," John Carmichael, regional director of real estate for the corporation that owns Ruby Tuesday, said yesterday.
"It's a case of still being concerned about the economics of the deal. It's a very expensive piece of property," he said.
Target's parent corporation will be responsible for approximately $1.5 million in improvements to Route 140 and Malcolm Drive to ease the traffic congestion expected to be generated by the store.
The corporation signed a reimbursement agreement with the Church of the Open Door, which owns 98 acres adjacent to the Target site. Under the agreement, if the church sells any of its acreage within five years, it or the buyer will reimburse Target for half the cost of extending Malcolm Drive and Center Street, based on the buyer's frontage on those streets.
The road improvements will include the construction of three through lanes and a continuous right turn lane on Route 140 westbound between Route 97 south and Gorsuch Road; the extension of double left-turn lanes along westbound Route 140 at Route 97 south by 300 feet; the extension of the single left-turn lane along Route 140 westbound at Center Street by 300 feet; and the construction of triple left-turn lanes from Route 97 south onto Route 140.
Target chose to open a store in Westminster despite the three other major discount stores there because its studies showed "the need for an upscale discounter," said Brian Fiala, Target's regional director.
Mr. Fiala said the new store will bring about 150 jobs to the area, 60 percent to 70 percent of them part-time. He said pay would be similar to salaries in other retail discount stores.
The average wage paid to retail trade workers in Carroll in 1994 was $249 a week, according to the Maryland Division of Labor and Industry.
Mr. Fiala said he didn't have an estimate of the store's potential economic impact. But he said Target stores generate an average revenue of $200,000 a year for goods and services in the communities in which they are built.