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Construction work on the Eldersburg Commons shopping center is underway Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014.
Construction work on the Eldersburg Commons shopping center is underway Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. (DYLAN SLAGLESTAFF PHOTO, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

To commuters and others passing by, it may seem like construction has halted at the former site of the Carrolltown Mall.

The apparent inactivity belies a different reality. As is the case with an iceberg, in that 90 percent of its mass is hidden under the surface, the majority of the construction at the site is going on beneath the future building pads, said Dixon Harvey, founder of and partner of the site's developer, Black Oak Associates.

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By late September, foundation construction will begin on the building pads of what will be called the Eldersburg Commons, Harvey said. That's when utility systems will be installed.

"There is a lot that goes into [construction] before the buildings go up," he said. "Utilities are going into the ground now, things like water and sewage pipes, a stormwater drainage system and electrical lines."

Harvey said the utility and grading contractor, Gray & Son Inc., will be working on finishing the utility underground installation over the next three weeks. As the utilities are installed beneath each site, grading crews will begin constructing the building pads, which involves correctly compacting the soil to make the sites suitable for their foundations.

Once utilities are installed and grading crews finish each pad, the sites will be turned over to the building contractor, who will begin constructing the foundations, Harvey said. Following each foundation will be steel supports, walls and roofs. As of Tuesday, the pad for the largest tenant, a Super Wal-Mart, had been completed and the other site locations were in the process of having utilities constructed.

Demolition of the site began in the fall of last year, Harvey said. The severe winter slowed progress, and just as the snow melted, the area received 11 inches of rain in April. Due to the weather, construction managers haven't been able to create an accurate schedule for completion.

"Weather has been a challenge, but the last couple of months, [construction] has been moving along nicely," Harvey said.

He said the earliest timeline for completion is about eight months, sometime in mid-May. The developer will have a more accurate completion date once utilities and building pads are finished in late September or early October.

According to Black Oak's site plan, the retail center will be anchored by the Super Wal-Mart and be supported by a variety of tenants.

In January, Harvey confirmed Chipotle Mexican Grill, AT&T, Sleepy's, The Vitamin Shoppe, Noodles & Company, Petco and T.J. Maxx will likely lease at the shopping center, after a list of those companies leaked online. To date, however, no leases had been signed. No further announcement on potential retailers has been made since.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Harvey had not commented on what other retail businesses may be included.

The center will be approximately 300,000 square feet and Wal-Mart will take up more than half of the total. The remaining tenants will occupy three sites in the same strip as Wal-Mart and three smaller stand-alone buildings.

The site was originally purchased by Black Oak Associates in 1991. The firm worked to redevelop the land as a mall. Though the company had some financial success for a time, Harvey said, it sold the property in 1998.

Harvey said Black Oak's proximity to Eldersburg — the developer is based in Owings Mills — has enabled the firm's managers to keep a close eye on the site and the economic situation in the area. They had remained interested in the property, and in 2004 they repurchased it with the idea of redeveloping it.

"We know the neighborhood and community well," he said. "We know the market well and we've seen things coming along and we really like working in Eldersburg," Harvey said.

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Reach staff writer Wiley Hayes at 410-857-3315 or email him at wiley.hayes@carrollcountytimes.com.

For More Information

To find out more about the future site of the Eldersburg Commons, visit the developer's website at http://www.blackoakusa.com.

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