The construction of a Wegmans Store at the corner of Emmorton and Woodsdale roads in Abingdon is on schedule, a spokeswoman for the company said Thursday. And while none of the stores that will join the upscale supermarket have signed on yet, Craig Ward, a consultant for the property, said the end result will be "a lifestyle center."
"To the left of the Wegmans store is going to be a large retail center that will have about 250,000 square feet," said Ward, president of Frederick Ward Associates. "Right now it's viewed to be anchored by a large department store proposed to be probably the most upscale retail center in Harford County."
Wegmans Director of Media Relations Jo Natale said the location is ideal for the criteria the company uses for development.
"We need a site large enough to accommodate a 140,000 square foot store with adequate parking," Natale said. "We need to have a lot of customers who will shop at the store and we need to hire people as well. And then great regional access. … All of those things came together for this site."
Natale said there is not a "firm date" for the opening of the store, but did say it will open in "late summer, early fall." A source familiar with the development of the site, however, said that Sept. 14, 2011, is the tentative grand opening date. Ward said that he, too, heard that the store would open next September.
Ward added that multiple "pad restaurants" and a bank are expected to move into the retail center, with PNC Bank as the lead candidate. All of the properties, he said, will fall in line with the plaza that he described as a "little more high-design than Festival."
"The potential impact of the jobs created by BRAC was also a positive factor," she said. "When all those things come together it usually points us to the direction of saying yes to a site."
Speaking to the selectiveness of Wegmans executives, an additional spokeswoman for the company said that in 2009 they received about 3,000 "customer letters in request to build a store," but that only three new stores were built that year.