3M plant to get new life as a retail, office center

Facility closed in 1997 after division was sold

3M plant to become a business center


January 11, 2001|By Maria Blackburn | Maria Blackburn,SUN STAFF

The vacant 3M plant near Westminster on Route 140 will soon get a new look and new tenants.

Weather permitting, workers will begin covering the peeling yellow paint on the faM-gade of the 75,000-square- foot building facing the highway with the 80,000 red bricks sitting in its parking lot, transforming it into a business center called Westminster Gateway.

By the time renovations are complete, the building will house retail stores in the front and manufacturing and business offices in the rear, said Lawrence Rief, a partner with the building's owner, Continental Realty Corp. of Towson.

Rief said his company has signed leases from Regal Bank, Heritage Automotive and Gardiners Furniture. He said he has spoken with several national retailers he declined to name.

For 50 years, Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing, or 3M, made billboards and vinyl signs at the plant. It closed in 1997 after 3M sold its advertising division.

The plant was vacant for a year before it was purchased for $2 million by Continental Realty, according to state real estate records.

Outside Westminster city limits, the site is served by city water and sewer, Rief said. "It's a wonderful growth market," he said. "We think it's a dynamic location."

Once renovations are complete on the front of the building this summer, Gardiners Furniture plans to occupy 40,000 square feet with a showroom double the size of its Westminster store on Railroad Avenue. "Rather than being buried in town, this is a roadside location right on a heavily traveled road," said Gardiners President Greg Mullaney.

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