Two national retailers - Marshall's and Bed, Bath & Beyond - are joining Westminster's commercial corridor on Route 140 in what city officials are calling a boon for economic redevelopment.
The two chain stores are the latest additions at Westminster Crossing, owned by Greenberg Commercial Corp., an Owings Mills developer. The company has also made a number of improvements at the shopping center at Englar Road and Route 140.
"It again makes the area one of the pre-eminent commercial areas in the city with a greater variety of stores," said Thomas B. Beyard, the city's planning and public works director. "It keeps shoppers in the community."
Bed, Bath & Beyond and Marshall's have signed leases to occupy 55,579 square feet of the 225,000-square-foot shopping center, according to the developer. The two retailers will occupy the space left vacant several years ago when a Lowe's home improvement store moved out.
Bed, Bath & Beyond and Marshall's are expected to open in the fall and be ready for the Christmas shopping season.
Mark Bomse, vice president of Greenberg Commercial, said the addition of the two tenants is part of the company's efforts to bring high-quality retailers into the Carroll County market.
"They're establishing their presence in one of the strongest commercial corridors in the county," said Bomse, noting that neither Bed, Bath & Beyond nor Marshall's have stores in Carroll County. "They've identified Westminster as a shopping market, which is able to support this kind of redevelopment," he said.
In November, the retail real estate developer bought the nearly 10-acre site where Lowe's was located and announced plans to redevelop that property along with the former Englar Shopping Center, which it already owned.
Greenberg Commercial said it would spend more than $15 million to transform the two properties, which sit across from one another on Englar Road at Route 140, into a new entity called Westminster Crossing.
At about the same time, Office Depot signed a lease for the space vacated by Kmart in the former Englar Shopping Center. The office supply store will join a Super Fresh grocery store and a CVS pharmacy at that location.
So far, the developer has made facade, signage and road improvements.
Discussions are under way to fill space that's available for three additional retailers at Westminster Crossing, Bomse said. He declined to disclose any details.
The old Lowe's site has been vacant since 1999 when the home improvement store moved to a new, larger store farther south at Route 140 and Malcolm Drive.
The former Lowe's property has been used for truck parking; it also housed a furniture liquidator.
Since Lowe's moved out, city officials had been working with developers to bring permanent retailers into that location.
Along with changes at Westminster Crossing, another shopping center on Route 140 is being redeveloped.
The Westminster Shopping Center property was recently annexed by the city, and a vacant food co-op is being rebuilt for a Food Lion grocery store.
Damian L. Halstad, the Westminster Common Council president and chairman of the economic development committee, said he's excited by the commercial growth.
"We always thought that as the [Route] 140 commercial corridor continues to grow and prosper, there is a natural spill-over effect to other parts of town, particularly Main Street," Halstad said. "It's another reason to come to Westminster."