Md. loses bid for Kohl's warehouse Department store chain picks Frederick Co., Va.

Commerce

April 17, 1996|By Alec Matthew Klein | Alec Matthew Klein,SUN STAFF

The score, so far this week: Maryland 1, Virginia 1.

On Monday, Maryland beat out Virginia, among others, in a derby to lure a distribution hub for the office-supply chain Staples Inc. and its 700 jobs. Yesterday, Virginia returned the favor, winning against Maryland in a bid to land a Kohl's Department Stores Inc. regional distribution center and the promise of 600 jobs.

"We certainly worked very hard and put our best offer on the table. Unfortunately, it's a fact of life we're in a very competitive environment," said spokesman Charles Porcari of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

The new facility will be located in Frederick County, Va. Kohl's also reportedly considered Frederick County, Md., and West Virginia.

Officials of Kohl's, based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Maryland officials declined to specify what kind of offer they made for Kohl's $20 million, 345,000-square-foot facility. In the Staples deal, Maryland offered the company a package of incentives worth at least $4.2 million for the $43 million, 840,000-square-foot project.

Kohl's deal apparently was less costly. Virginia reportedly offered a $275,000 grant to assist in Kohl's site acquisition. Kohl's is also eligible for a tax credit.

Kohl's, a chain of about 117 department stores with apparel, shoes and housewares targeted at middle-income customers, has spent months looking at existing buildings and new sites throughout the region for a distribution center that could feed a mid-Atlantic expansion, according to sources familiar with the company.

Kohl's also was considering several retail sites, including Laurel and two in Northern Virginia: Dale City and Prince William County.

The status of those plans remained unclear yesterday.

The stores, which take up about 85,000 square feet and employ about 175 full- and part-time workers, have fared well against competitors such as J.C. Penney and Sears. Kohl's opened 18 stores in 1994 and an estimated 22 last year. Another 22 stores are projected this year.

Pub Date: 4/17/96

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