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Prospective tenants named for former Carrolltown Center

Black Oak Associates President Dixon Harvey has tentatively confirmed seven retailers that will occupy the Eldersburg Commons.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, AT&T, Sleepy's, The Vitamin Shoppe, Noodles & Company, Petco and T.J. Maxx are in talks of opening locations at what was the Carrolltown Center, which has largely been demolished.

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Harvey said that while most of the retailers have been set, no leases have been signed, and likely no further announcements will be made until late February or March.

Anchoring the 290,000-square-foot space will be a Walmart Supercenter, which Black Oak announced in April. Since then, the company has been tight-lipped on the other retailers occupying the center, citing ongoing leasing negotiations.

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Harvey said of the 19 tentative merchants, the rest of which he would not name, three or four are local tenants. They will occupy some of the 12 smaller stores in the center, each of which ranges from 1,000 to 2,000 square feet.

The larger stores, chain retailers, will take up spaces 15,000 to 20,000 square feet each, and are what Harvey designated as "junior anchors," designed to draw consumers to Eldersburg Commons, much like the Walmart Supercenter.

Many of the possible merchants are restaurants, Harvey said, though some sell "everyday goods," as well.

"Leasing agreements are going phenomenally," he said. "All but one space is basically spoken for."

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Chipotle Mexican Grill and Noodles & Company are both chain restaurants with locations across the country. Chipotle has a Westminster store and another in Mount Airy. Noodles & Company would be opening its first site in the county.

The Vitamin Shoppe sells vitamins and supplements, with one branch in Westminster. T.J. Maxx, a department store, has a Mount Airy location. Petco, a major pet supply shop, has one Westminster-based store, and Sleepy's has three proximate locations, based in Westminster, Hampstead and Mount Airy. AT&T operates a company store in Westminster, and smaller retailers in Westminster, Eldersburg and Mount Airy.

Kimberly Madeja, 54, has lived in Eldersburg for 15 years and said she would want Black Oak to secure a high-class retailer, stores you might see in her former living place, Columbia. She suggested Sephora, a makeup company.

Madeja said it's difficult for her to find professional attire for her job without leaving the county borders.

"I think this is what the residents want," she said.

Ellen Dix, former president of the Freedom Area Recreation Council and longtime South Carroll resident, said she would like to see a mix of local and chain retailers come to the Commons. She said she would especially appreciate an electronics specialty store - one with a wider range of stock than Walmart, so she wouldn't have to drive to Westminster.

"We shouldn't have to leave South Carroll to do our shopping," Dix said. "We don't have a variety."

Harvey initially estimated a fall 2014 completion date for the Eldersburg Commons, as the new facility has been dubbed, though he said spring 2015 is now more likely.

Harvey said that though by and large the existing structure has been razed, construction on the center has recently halted, as unfavorable weather conditions prevent the project from moving forward.

"We're still holding out hope for fall 2014, however," he said.

Freezing temperatures have prevented the contractors from engineering utility lines - sewage, electric and water, and the center's grading.

"It's all a very moisture-sensitive operation," Harvey said. "It all depends on the soil."

Progress slowed the week of Thanksgiving due to weather, followed by more alternating periods of heavy rain and snowfall. The workers vacated the site the week of Jan. 6, taking with them the equipment used for grading. Renovations will resume when weather permits, Harvey said.

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