Food store's plan a go Market's new owner to follow through on Martin expansion

Panel gives approval

Grocery store sold to Metro chain as part of Giant acquisition

November 13, 1998|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

An expansion planned last year for Martin's Food Store in Westminster will be built by the new owner, a 17-store Baltimore City chain.

Metro Food Market received approval from the city planning commission yesterday for an addition that will increase the size of the store in the 140 Village Shopping Center by two-thirds.

Metro bought the Martin's supermarket in the wake of the $2.7 billion acquisition of Landover-based Giant Food Inc. by the Dutch company Royal Ahold NV. The deal was completed Oct. 20.

Royal Ahold, which owned Martin's, sold 10 stores to win Federal Trade Commission approval of the purchase.

Metro officials asked Martin's to follow through on its 4-year-old plan to expand the Westminster store, said engineer Edward Stalnecker, representing Martin's.

"Metro will acquire the approved land development plan from Martin's for potential expansion in the future," Stalnecker told the planning commission. He did not know when Metro plans to expand.

With 35,000 square feet, the store is among the smallest of Westminster's five supermarkets.

Metro representatives did not attend the meeting and could not be reached for comment.

Metro staged two grand openings yesterday -- a new store in Columbia in Howard County and the former Martin's in Westminster. A bright red Metro sign has replaced the orange Martin's sign over the entrance, but the Westminster store's layout is unchanged.

Martin's began planning to expand its Westminster store four years ago, but put the plan on hold while corporate executives looked for a site for a new store, Stalnecker said. Finding no suitable site within city limits, executives resurrected the expansion plan, he said.

Martin's submitted a plan for a 23,000-square-foot addition to the city planning office in November 1997, but it did not follow up in addressing planners' concerns until about two months ago.

Most of the expansion will be at the rear of the store, said Planning Director Thomas B. Beyard.

The supermarket will also expand across part of a driveway to the east, narrowing the driveway to 30 feet, and to the west.

The westward expansion will take the supermarket across space now occupied by a liquor store, a vacant former card and book shop and a pedestrian walkway at the rear of the shopping center.

The owner and manager of Country Liquors could not be reached for comment yesterday about where the liquor store will relocate.

Beyard said Metro executives plan to do the expansion work while the store remains open.

The sale of Giant to Royal Ahold forced changes in supermarket ownership in Westminster and Eldersburg, where a Giant store was sold to Safeway Supermarkets.

Royal Ahold sold the 10 stores to win approval from the FTC, which raised the issue of preserving competitiveness.

JTC Metro is owned by Richfood Inc., a Richmond, Va., grocery wholesaler, which has expanded into retail by buying Metro and Farm Fresh Inc., a supermarket chain based in Norfolk, Va.

Pub Date: 11/13/98

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