Wal-Mart buys 20.5 acres in Aberdeen

Wal-Mart, the Arkansas-based discount retailer, has purchased 20.5 acres in Aberdeen Business Park in Harford County as a site for a new store.

The chain plans to begin construction of the 93,000-square-foot store as soon as it receives a grading permit from the town of Aberdeen, said Maury Levin, a real estate broker who negotiated the sale for Wal-Mart.


Aberdeen officials have approved Wal-Mart's plan for the store in the business park, across U.S. 40 from the recently completed Frito-Lay manufacturing and distribution center.

Wal-Mart purchased the property Monday from Robert N. Smelkinson, who acquired it in 1989 as part of a 28-acre site on U.S. 40, just east of the Route 715 access to Aberdeen Proving Ground.


Neither Mr. Levin nor J. Gary Lee, the real estate broker who negotiated the sale for Mr. Smelkinson, would disclose the purchase price.

"There's a need for this kind of store in Aberdeen. The demand for the product is unbelievable," Mr. Levin said of the retail giant's huge selection of discounted merchandise.

Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, moved into Maryland last year and has opened six stores.

The most recent, a 116,839-square-foot store, opened Monday in Westminster.

The retailer also has stores in Prince Frederick, Hagerstown, Easton, Waldorf and Glen Burnie.

Simon R. Ruderman, Aberdeen's director of planning and community development, has said the Aberdeen store would employ more than 200 people, but that the discount giant could hurt small businesses.

William G. Carroll, of Harford's planning and zoning office, said Wal-Mart has also received approval for a site at Constant Friendship, near Route 24 and Interstate 95.

That site has concerned some Bel Air business owners and town planners because of the potential competition with Bel Air merchants.