Merchants Tire & Auto is relocating two Baltimore City tire distribution and repair centers to the Halethorpe section of Baltimore County, a move that will cost the city nearly three dozen jobs.
The company's shift to the county marks the latest blow to the city in its effort to retain service-oriented and other businesses.
In the past decade, more than 65,000 jobs have evaporated from the city.
Jim Matthews, Merchants president, said the company considered various city properties as part of a yearlong search before leasing a 150,400-square-foot building at 4625 Hollins Ferry Road. "We looked at a lot of buildings in the city, a lot of older buildings, but none were conducive to our operation," Matthews said.
The Halethorpe building, which Goodyear Corp. abandoned earlier this month in favor of a site in New Jersey, will serve as a distribution center and as the local hub for Merchants' commercial division, formerly on Wabash Avenue.
"The access this building has to Interstate 695 lends itself to both retail and distribution throughout Baltimore," said Matthew J. Ryan Jr., the Casey & Associates Inc. vice president who together with Jim Leanos represented the building's owner, the Gillis Thomas Co. of Texas.
The Manassas, Va.-based retailer's lease is valued at roughly $6 million through 2006.
Before the deal, Merchants had been primarily distributing tires to its 20 area stores from Virginia because its 30,000-square-foot Grundy Street warehouse in the city was too small to handle the company's volume, Matthews said. In all, Merchants operates 70 stores.
Pub Date: 5/23/96