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CANTON MAY GET A SAFEWAY Supermarket firm plans large store at can company site


Safeway Inc., the nation's third-largest supermarket chain, proposes building a 62,500-square-foot store in the Canton area of Baltimore, the site of earlier community opposition over plans to develop the property.

Safeway has an option to buy 5 acres at the site of the former

American Can Co. factory in the 2600 block of Boston Street. The waterfront area around the site has been dubbed Baltimore's "Gold Coast" because of the large number of new condominiums and town house developments in the vicinity.

A proposal to build a $52 million regional shopping center at the site in the late 1980s met stiff opposition from the community, which wanted to preserve architecturally significant buildings and prevent increased congestion. The developers, headed by Michael Swerdlow of Washington, later abandoned the plans.

The site of the proposed grocery store is dominated by an empty field where an 85,000-square-foot warehouse used to stand.

The proposed store and 300-car parking lot would take up a little more than half of the triangular 9.3-acre site that is bounded by Boston Street, Lakewood Avenue and Hudson Street. Efforts to sell the rest of the property are on hold until plans for the Safeway are finalized, said James S. Leanos, vice president of CB Commercial Real Estate Group Inc., the agency representing American National Can Co. of Chicago, the owner of the property.

"Its going to be a full-service, high-end [grocery] facility. There is no question there is a need," he said.

If the city approval process moves smoothly, Mr. Leanos said, he would estimate the store might open in mid-to-late 1995.

John C. Deckard, a spokesman for Safeway, confirmed that the company has an option on the property. He declined to give an estimated cost for the store.

Safeway, based in Oakland, Calif., has 868 stores in the United States and 235 in Canada. There are 60 Safeway stores in Maryland, including one in Baltimore.

Mr. Leanos said the project will probably involve just the Safeway store, but there is the possibility of one or two small smaller stores.

The proposal is still in a very preliminary stage and must be reviewed and approved by city agencies, Mr. Leanos said. "We are still very much in the investigation stage," he said.

Safeway and CB Commercial officials also will talk with community leaders.

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