Giant to build market in city, first since '76 West Baltimore store on Edmondson Ave. to be brick on four sides


November 20, 1997|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

Giant Food Inc., the largest supermarket chain in the area, has announced that it will open a new store in Baltimore for the first time in 21 years.

The new Giant, at 4600 Edmondson Ave. in West Baltimore, will include both a food store and a pharmacy. It is scheduled to open late next year.

Barry F. Scher, the chain's vice president for public affairs, said yesterday that the new store will employ 200 city residents, many of whom Giant hopes to hire from the neighborhood. Construction will start this winter.

Giant's Sinclair Lane outlet, which opened in 1976, was the last store the chain built in the city. Scher said the long gap between openings is due to the difficulty of acquiring sufficient space.

"We've been looking for city sites in Washington and Baltimore," he said. "It's very difficult to put together a deal. In suburbia you're often working with one landlord as opposed to a city where you're often working with many different landlords."

One analyst said the new site fits a broader strategy of going into areas where people have few shopping options.

"Giant is looking for opportunities to serve customers where those customers are under-served, and certainly that's an area where there's not a glut of supermarkets," said Jeff Metzger, publisher of Food World, a food industry journal covering the mid-Atlantic region.

Giant recently has suffered declines in net income, but Scher said the disappointing financial situation had no effect on plans to build the new store, which he said will cost between $6 million and $8 million. "We have a number of very positive trends," he said. "We're always looking to build new stores."

He said Giant will add 10 stores in the 1997-1998 fiscal year, with six more already on the boards for 1998-1999. There are no firm plans to build more stores in the city.

The Giant's West Baltimore store will be among three new businesses at the former City Oldsmobile site. The other stores will be a Hollywood Video outlet and a franchise of a national auto-parts chain.

Bradley S. Glaser, one of the principals of Vanguard Equities, said that unlike most grocery stores, the new Giant will be brick on all four sides to mesh with the architecture of the neighborhood. "It's our most exciting project to date. I think it's going to be a very nice addition to the community."

The Lutherville firm has developed local sites for Giant, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacies. The general contractor will be Obrecht-Phoenix Contractors Inc. of Baltimore.

Pub Date: 11/20/97

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