By Michel Elben
CARROLL COUNTY TIMES
October 20, 2015
ELDERSBURG — Hanging signs and stocking inventory earlier this week, employees were preparing for the Wednesday, Oct. 21, grand opening of the relocated Walmart Supercenter at the redeveloped Eldersburg Commons retail center.
"We're just looking forward to opening the doors. It's the perfect season for it," store manager Natalie Butcher said.
The original Eldersburg Walmart, which had been just down the street at 1320 Liberty Road, closes Wednesday as the new Supercenter, the anchor store of the Eldersburg Commons development, opens. Butcher said all employees were relocated to the new location, at the corner of Liberty and Ridge roads. The new store will employ up to 400 full- and part-time associates, adding about 150 new jobs to the previous total.
On Thursday, the Carroll County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the rezoning of the old Eldersburg Walmart site to allow for the creation of a retail shopping center there.
Eldersburg Commons is being built on the site of the former Carrolltown Mall. Black Oak Associates, a regional private development company that owns several properties in Carroll County, originally purchased the Carrolltown Mall property in 1991, then sold it in 1998 before repurchasing it in 2004.
Nearly a decade later, in 2013, demolition of the dilapidated Carrolltown Mall began as the $50 million renovation plans for the approximately 300,000-square-foot Eldersburg Commons were revealed, including the Wal-Mart Supercenter as its anchor tenant. Construction of the Wal-Mart began in January.
"We are excited for the community, Walmart and the Eldersburg Commons project," said Dixon Harvey, partner at Black Oak Associates. "And we would like to thank the Carroll County government officials for making this first grand opening and the Eldersburg Commons project a reality."
Eldersburg Commons is progressing on schedule, with many of the tenants slated to open in the coming months, Harvey said.
Petco opened on Monday; T.J. Maxx is slated to open Nov. 8; Noodles & Company, Vitamin Shoppe, Chipotle, AT&T, Sleepy's, Dental Care at Eldersburg Commons, Jimmy John's, and MOD Pizza are expected to open in early December; and Ulta Cosmetics and Olympia Sports is expected to open in January, he said. Denny's, Wendy's and Bank of America remained open through the center's redevelopment.
Commissioner Doug Howard, who represents Eldersburg, said in a prepared statement from Black Oak Associates that residents have anxiously awaited the redevelopment of Carrolltown Mall for the past 10 years. "The time has come, and it is great for the community to have an attractive and viable shopping center such as Eldersburg Commons," Howard, R-District 5, said in the statement. "This is a critical piece of our overall economic growth which will support our county's needs into the future."
Del. Susan Krebs, R-District 5, said the whole redevelopment will be a great asset to the Eldersburg community.
"It will bring in new stores and activities," Krebs, who also represents the Eldersburg area, said in a phone interview. "Having a place for people to shop and go is very important to keep our community vibrant." Harvey said there are no development updates for another Black Oak Associates project called Eldersburg Station, located at Londontown and Brevard boulevards. The property is approved for 93,000 square feet of retail and restaurant uses, including a proposed 36,000-square-foot movie theater, according to plans on the Black Oak Associates website.
"There's been a lot of momentum generated by the Walmart opening," he said. "We're focused on Eldersburg Commons and then we'll see."
Butcher said the Walmart Supercenter is about 187,000 square feet and includes 30 cash registers. The store will be open daily from 6 a.m. to midnight. Butcher said the Eldersburg Supercenter is a full grocery store with fresh produce, meat and pantry staples. In addition to organics and nutritious food choices, customers will also find a full-service deli and an in-store bakery offering custom cakes, fresh-baked breads and custom tortillas. The pharmacy will offers a full range of products and services. In addition, the store includes a full-service vision center, an automotive center, a photo center, a nail salon and a hair salon. The store will also house Auntie Anne's and Subway.
"It's a one-stop shop. You can get everything in one place. We're stocked with quality electronics, furniture, automotive, sporting goods, home improvement, apparel, toys and more from top brands at Walmart's everyday low prices," Butcher said. "Like all Walmart stores, the store will have Walmart Pickup. Many items are available for pickup the same day."
According to a Walmart news release, Wednesday's grand-opening will include presentations of $10,000 in grants from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation to local community groups including BARCS, Carrolltowne Elementary, the Eldersburg branch of the Carroll County Library, Emergency Management of Carroll County, Liberty High School, Oklahoma Road Middle School, Piney Run Park, The Samaritan Women, St. Stephen's Christian Academy and Sykesville-Freedom Volunteer Fire Department.
The new store will also host A Big Family Welcome event Saturday, Oct. 24. Customers can meet Butcher, and enjoy family activities and free food samples while supplies last.