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New tenant sought for former Catonsville hhgregg shop

The former hhgregg store on Baltimore National Pike in Catonsville is available for rent.
The former hhgregg store on Baltimore National Pike in Catonsville is available for rent. (Jon Bleiweis/BSMG Staff)

The landlord of a Catonsville store that was once home to the electronics and appliance retailer hhgregg is looking for a tenant.

The 29,004-square foot property, on Baltimore National Pike between Interstate 695 and North Rolling Road, is in a shopping center that includes a Home Depot home-improvement store and a Vitamin Shoppe.

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Baltimore-based Vanguard Retail Property Development purchased the property after Circuit City, another electronics and appliance chain, closed in 2009 and auctioned off the property.

Len Weinberg, a principal for Vanguard, said the company has partnered with commercial real estate company Segall Group, which has an office in Baltimore, to search for its tenants.

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Struggling electronics retailer hhgregg announced Thursday it will close 88 stores nationwide, including six in the Baltimore area, as it retrenches in an effort to return to profitability.

"They are casting their net wide and far so we make sure we test the market and pick what the best use will be there," Weinberg said.

The electronics retailer hhgregg, a relative newcomer in the Baltimore and Washington market, closed all 10 of its Maryland locations, earlier this year after filing for bankruptcy court protection. The Catonsville location opened in 2010.

The 62-year-old chain later announced it had been unable to find a buyer for its remaining stores and closed, wrapping up "going out of business" sales last month.

Weinberg said the search for a tenant is early in its process, and he's looking for a tenant that will bring in good traffic, provide the community with a good service and benefit from the Route 40 location.

"We'll have to see what pops up," he said.

The real estate listing also includes the 24,833-square foot Staples property, next to hhgregg, for rent, but Weinberg said the office supply retailer has a short-term lease on the property. A Staples spokeswoman said the company has no plans to close the store at this time. Staples announced in March it was closing 70 of its stores in the U.S.

The landlord of five Sears or Kmart stores in Maryland has been seeking new tenants to take over some space, part of an agreement between the troubled retailer and the developer that controls about 250 of Sears Holdings properties across the country.

Weinberg said he hopes Staples stays at the site for the long term. The Staples representative declined to comment about the lease.

Teal Cary, executive director of the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce, said the Route 40 corridor attracts big box and retail stores, but a restaurant may be a good fit for the area, citing the property's ample parking.

She wouldn't be surprised if another retailer arrived at the former hhgregg building, but if one does, it needs to be savvy about offering online services for it to do well.

"It's just very obvious to me that most retail is moving to just online," she said. "That's what the trends seem to be showing."



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