Retail center plans revealed

Development trend along Route 140 is going strong

March 22, 2000|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

Westminster will soon be home to a BJ's Wholesale Club, Kohl's Department Store and Home Depot when a shopping center opens near Routes 140 and 97, probably in August 2001, according to sources familiar with the project.

A Baltimore-based developer who has built office buildings and hotels near Baltimore-Washington International Airport announced plans this month for Westminster Marketplace, a five- or six-store shopping center on a 109-acre site near Weis Market and home improvement giant Lowe's.

Deferring to confidentiality agreements, Henry Resnikoff of HRW-LMT Development had declined to discuss which retailers might locate at the center.

But R. Douglas Mathias of Greater Westminster Development Corp., the city's nonprofit partner in economic development, named BJ's, Kohl's and Home Depot yesterday as tenants of Marketplace. Two other sources familiar with the development plans confirmed that information.

Mathias and other local development experts said the retailers will add variety to the busy Route 140 commercial corridor, which features discount retailers Target and Wal-Mart, as well as Lowe's and the struggling Cranberry Mall.

"It does give shoppers more opportunities without having to leave the area and physically having to go to other centers in other towns and communities," Mathias said. "And from a competition standpoint, those big-box retailers, they like it because some of the same types of stores locate near each other."

He compared the proliferation of retailers to the commercial boom of the early 1990s when national chain restaurants began popping up along Route 140.

"All the other restaurants wanted to be within sight of the others," he said. "It's the same thing with these retailers."

Mathias said a multiscreen theater -- similar to but smaller than the 17-screen premium theater complex in Owings Mills -- might be among the tenants at Westminster Marketplace. The developer has said a restaurant also might join the center.

Plans for Marketplace must be approved by Westminster's Planning and Zoning Commission. Resnikoff, whose development projects have included a movie theater near BWI and a BJ's Wholesale Club in Middletown, R.I., expects to start construction in Westminster this summer.

Resnikoff refused to comment yesterday on his development's tenants. He said all but one store location -- a 60,000-square-foot site -- have been leased.

Home Depot will occupy a 118,000-square-foot location featuring a garden center, lumber canopy and outdoor storage area, according to grading plans filed with the city.

Kohl's will open in an 86,000-square-foot building. Similar to Dayton Hudson's Target stores, the retailer sells moderately priced apparel, shoes, accessories and housewares.

BJ's will occupy a 68,000-square-foot store with a tire installation unit and an area for filling propane tanks, according to the developer's grading plans.

Nancy Sodano, a spokeswoman with Natick, Mass.-based BJ's, said she did not have information on a Westminster location. As of April, BJ's operated 96 clubs from Maine to Florida and in Ohio, according to the company's Web site.

Gary Vasques, executive vice president of marketing with Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based Kohl's Department Stores, said the only Maryland location for which the company has announced a store opening is Severna Park, where Kohl's will open in the vacated Caldor storefront April 14.

John Simley, a spokesman for Atlanta-based Home Depot, could not be reached for comment. The company operates more than 900 stores in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Chile, according to its Web site.

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