Wholesaler likely to lease warehouse in Perryman


B. Green & Co. is likely to sign preliminary lease agreements next week for the old Channel Home Center warehouse in Perryman as the Lansdowne-based grocery wholesaler prepares to consolidate five existing warehouses at a single location.

It is likely to be the metropolitan area's largest warehouse deal of the year.

The deal would call for B. Green to occupy about 575,000 square feet of warehouse space, including a planned addition to serve as storage space for frozen food.

"We had to get into one warehouse. It has a very big impact on our cost structure," said Jesse Swartz, chief financial officer of B. Green, which is based on Washington Boulevard near the Baltimore Beltway. "Corporate headquarters will stay on Route 1 for the time being."

Mr. Swartz said the company's warehouse employees will be offered the chance to move to the Harford County facility and that the company is planning efforts to help its staff commute to Harford County.

B. Green, which acts as a middleman between food companies and retailers ranging from military-base stores to smaller supermarket chains such as Mars Supermarkets and Farm Fresh, has warehouses in Baltimore, Elkridge, Jessup, Lansdowne and Halethorpe, Mr. Swartz said.

The company owns two of the warehouses but plans to look for new tenants rather than try to sell the buildings immediately.

Adam Wasserman, Baltimore County's acting director of economic development, said the company isn't leaving the county because it is unhappy with its government or business climate.

Mr. Wasserman said the problem was that B. Green was able to find an existing warehouse in Harford County that was big enough to meet most of its needs at a time when bank financing for new construction projects of that scale is hard to find because of the real estate recession.

"Unfortunately, we didn't have that kind of building to offer them," Mr. Wasserman said. He said the county hopes to hold on to B. Green's Lansdowne administrative operation, which he said has 200 employees.

James D. Fielder, economic-development director for Harford County, said his office has been working with B. Green officials for six months.

He said the county is not giving the company any grants to move north or making any special public improvements around the Channel building. He and Mr. Swartz said the county might make a short-term loan to the company for expenses related to the move.

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