Two sites to be revamped into Westminster Crossing

Former Lowe's location, Englar Shopping Center to be redeveloped

November 19, 2003|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A property off Route 140 that was vacated several years ago by the Lowe's home improvement store is to be redeveloped along with the Englar Shopping Center into a new entity, Westminster Crossing, an Owings Mills developer and Westminster city officials said yesterday.

More than $15 million in improvements are planned for the two properties, with new stores expected to open next fall, said Mark A. Bomse, vice president of Irwin L. Greenberg Commercial Corp. of Owings Mills. The company already owns the shopping center and is buying the Lowe's site, he said.

Westminster Mayor Kevin E. Dayhoff said the project will contribute to the city's status as a commercial center.

"Bringing that property along will be a big help in solidifying that position," he said.

Office Depot has signed a lease for the space vacated by Kmart in Englar Shopping Center, which has a Super Fresh grocery and a CVS pharmacy, Bomse said. Other retailers new to Carroll, including clothing, home decor, book and pet stores, are interested, he said, but he would not disclose them.

The old Lowe's site, directly across Englar Road from the shopping center, is to be rebuilt and expanded, with three independent sites for free-standing banks or restaurants, Bomse said.

In 1999, Lowe's began its move to a new, larger store farther south at Route 140 and Malcolm Drive.

Dayhoff called the old site, which has been used for truck parking and a furniture liquidator, "a diamond in the rough just waiting to happen."

"I am really excited to see something done with that empty property that contributes to the economy. I think it's a real opportunity, and I'm glad someone has seized it. I think the demographics will definitely support it," he said.

"I've been very disappointed that that building has been empty for so long. It seems like forever," Dayhoff said. "I don't think its highest and best use was as a parking lot for trucks."

Bomse said his company also is rebuilding Hunt Valley Mall in Baltimore County as an open-air town center. Plans for Westminster Crossing began when Kmart closed its store in Englar Shopping Center in mid-April as part of a nationwide bankruptcy reorganization.

"We mutually agreed to terminate the lease," he said.

By midsummer, Bomse said, the company had reached an agreement to buy the nearly 10-acre site of the old Lowe's.

Bomse would not disclose the purchase price, but the property has been appraised by the state at $5.5 million, said Shawn Siders, Westminster's manager of planning and development.

"Certainly we are working with the developer, and it is exciting for us to see this vacant parcel developed," Siders said. "We've had a lot of questions about what's going to happen to Lowe's."

"There was always the feeling that this was a prime piece of property out there and that it would redevelop," he added. "It just had to have the right developer to come along."

Siders noted that last month, Westminster Shopping Center across Route 140 was annexed by the city. Part of it, where a vacant food co-op now stands, will be redeveloped for a Food Lion grocery.

"We've got a lot going on," Siders said. "To see this corridor redeveloped is exciting for us."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.