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German grocer Lidl will open first Baltimore store in redeveloped Northwood Commons shopping center

A rendering of the Lidl store at Northwood Commons, the redeveloped Northwood Plaza Shopping Center in Northeast Baltimore by Morgan State University.
A rendering of the Lidl store at Northwood Commons, the redeveloped Northwood Plaza Shopping Center in Northeast Baltimore by Morgan State University.(Handout)

German grocer Lidl, a discount supermarket chain expanding on the East Coast, will open its first store in Baltimore at the redeveloped Northwood Plaza Shopping Center in Northeast Baltimore.

The developers of the $50 million project near Morgan State University said Monday that Lidl has signed a lease for a more-than-30,000-square-foot spot in what will be known as Northwood Commons.

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It will anchor the 100,000-square-foot center, which is planned to include Barnes & Noble College Cafe and a state-of-the-art public safety building for the university. The project is expected to be finished by early 2022.

Lidl, whose U.S. division is based in Arlington, Virginia, has been expanding in Maryland, going head-to-head with Aldi, another German discount grocer. Lidl plans to open a $100 million distribution center in Cecil County’s Perryville early next year.

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The grocer markets itself with low prices, easy-to-shop stores with just six aisles and a curated selection of mostly private label products. It began opening U.S. stores in the summer of 2017 and now runs more than 75 in nine East Coast states with Maryland locations in Aberdeen, Bowie, College Park and Hagerstown and more planned.

Northwood Plaza is being redeveloped by a joint venture that includes Baltimore-based MCB Real Estate, MLR Partners and Northwood S.C., the center’s owner since the late 1980s.

The Morgan State community “has been yearning for decades for a place nearby to shop for fresh food, and now we finally have one,” said Dr. David Wilson, the university’s president, in an announcement.

Mark Renbaum, managing partner of MLR Partners, said the development team was able to attract Lidl by working cooperatively with Morgan State, the Baltimore Development Corp., and state and city governments.

“This project is a true example of what is possible when neighborhoods, community, government and private interests collaborate,” said P. David Bramble, managing partner for MCB Real Estate, in Monday’s announcement.

Other tenants planned for Northwood Commons include McDonald’s, WingStop, Fulton Bank, Bank of America and Sunny’s Subs. The developers said additional tenants will be announced soon.

Besides planning its first Baltimore city site at Northwood Commons, Lidl soon will open its first two Baltimore County supermarkets. Those stores, in Catonsville and Nottingham, and six others in the state by next spring will be part of a 25-store East Coast expansion.

The Baltimore County stores will be located at 6026 Baltimore National Pike in Catonsville and 8667 Belair Road in the Nottingham area, a former Mars Super Markets space.

The grocer said in September that it also plans a store at The Mall in Columbia, which will open in the spring in a former Sears space. Other stores will open in District Heights, Lanham and Waldorf.

The grocer, which operates 10,800 stores in 32 countries, said in October that it plans to offer health coverage to all 1,200 part-time employees in its U.S. stores starting Jan. 1.

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