Groundbreaking scheduled for shopping center Safeway, bookstore signed for $8 million project

October 19, 1998|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Groundbreaking will be held Wednesday afternoon for College Square, a shopping center in Westminster that will be home to a Safeway supermarket and smaller stores.

The $8 million shopping center will open in late spring, said Dixon Harvey, president of Black Rock Associates Inc. of Eldersburg, the developer of the project with Western Maryland College.

Site preparation work began last week with sediment control and "moving some earth," Harvey said, but the formal ceremony will be Wednesday.

In addition to Safeway, College Square has signed a bookstore and a dry-cleaning business, he said.

Leases are awaiting signatures by several other tenants, including a hair salon and a restaurant.

Construction of the project will include more than $1 million in traffic improvements, including the installation of a traffic light at Route 140 and Route 31, and a new connecting road -- WMC Drive -- from the Comfort Inn at Route 140 to West Main Street.

Highway improvements

Route 140 will be widened at the site and the intersection improved, making it easier and safer for motorists, Harvey said.

"People now who go out West Main Street and left to Taneytown have a very dangerous intersection," he said. "Main Street at 140 will ultimately be closed. Traffic will have an easier time getting out, and it will greatly improve the safety."

The center's brick and slate-roofed design will complement the college buildings, he said.

"The design and the architecture -- we really see an opportunity here, and in our design, we've created some areas with planters, incorporating landscaping and benches to make a nice place for our shoppers to sit and have a sandwich or cup of coffee," Harvey said.

"It's a nice neighborhood, and we're proud to be a part of it."

The Safeway will be the first supermarket to open in the Westminster area in six years.

Growing west side

Ten years ago, Safeway closed its east-side store in Crossroads Square on Route 140. Since then, Westminster's west-side population has grown; its residents account for roughly half of the city's population of more than 16,000.

The Safeway will occupy about 55,000 of the 90,000 square feet at College Square.

The land is owned by WMC Development Corp., a subsidiary of nearby Western Maryland College.

"They'll own the land and lease it to us," Harvey said. "We'll build the buildings and lease them to Safeway and the other tenants."

Black Rock owns and manages Carrolltown Center in Eldersburg and South York Value Center in York, Pa.

Westminster city officials have supported the College Square project, saying it fits their comprehensive land-use plan, which noted a shortage of commercial space, especially on the west side.

"The zoning was already on the property," said Thomas B. Beyard, the city director of planning and public works, who said the developers have been "very amenable to get the project moving forward.

"This is a significant amount of road improvements -- over $1 million -- on county and state highways," Beyard said. "Not an insignificant figure."

Pub Date: 10/19/98

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