Agents struggling to find tenant for Wawa mart site

March 04, 1997|By Erin Texeira | Erin Texeira,SUN STAFF

Real estate agents have reduced the price of the site of a former Wawa Food Market in east Columbia but are still struggling -- after nearly two years -- to find a tenant.

Robert A. Freedman, of Corridor Commercial Real Estate Group, said he is surprised the property in the Thunder Hill neighborhood of Oakland Mills village has not sold. "We are actively marketing the site, but it is simply not a corner location at a crowded intersection on a main road," he said. "Ten or 15 years ago, this was a tremendous location. But now, more development in other parts of Columbia is pulling customers away from these types of neighborhood shopping centers."

In November, Corridor reduced the price of the half-acre property at Log Cabin and Thunder Hill roads from $300,000 to $285,000.

The tenant -- or tenants -- must sign a multiyear lease and be prepared to invest $50,000 to $200,000 to open a business, Freedman said.

Several parties are interested in the property but nothing firm -- "or even semi-firm" -- is in the works, Freedman said. For more than six months, he said, a developer he would not identify has been willing to to buy the property, contingent on finding a tenant.

"This is like the chicken chasing the egg," he said.

The site could also be converted to offices for doctors, a few of whom have expressed interest in the property, he said.

The site has been unoccupied since April 1995, when the 25-year-old Wawa store burned down.

Wawa, a Pennsylvania company, decided not to rebuild in Columbia, even after residents collected more than 700 signatures in support of another store coming to the site.

Wawa was bringing in about $16,000 in revenues each week, Freedman said.

Pub Date: 3/04/97

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