Continental Realty buys Eldersburg mall; 'We consider Carroll County a growth market'; Commercial real estate


Continental Realty Corp., a Towson-based development firm, said yesterday that it has purchased Freedom Village Shopping Center in Eldersburg for an undisclosed sum.

"We consider Carroll County a growth market, with great population growth and a strong future," said David Strouse, vice president of acquisitions for the company.

The 116,593-square-foot shopping center, on 13.1 acres at Route 26 and Georgetown Boulevard, includes a Martin's Food Store, a Rite Aid and nearly 20 other stores.

As part of the deal, Continental Realty Corp. also gets two undeveloped acres across from Georgetown Boulevard. In addition, the shopping center also has two stand-alone sites, currently occupied by Taco Bell and First Union Bank.

The company said one appeal of the site is Martin's, because the company likes shopping centers anchored by grocery stores.

"We plan to apply our company's leasing, management, and marketing skills to Freedom Village to improve the shopping center's position in the market," said John A. Luetkemeyer Jr., president of Continental Realty. The company purchased the site from Freedom Village Shopping Center LLC. Continental Realty said the site is 95 percent leased, with about 6,000 square feet still vacant. "We're looking for other retail tenants to strengthen the overall merchant base," Strouse said.

Freedom Village marks the sixth purchase by Continental Realty in the past year, which included three deals in the Naples, Fla., area and three in Maryland. The company purchased Arnold Station and Piney Orchard Marketplace in Anne Arundel County.

Early this year, Continental Realty bought the vacant Hechinger national distribution center in Landover for about $11 million. The company plans to finalize the purchase of a former 3M plant in Westminster on Dec. 2. That site includes two buildings -- one 65,000 square feet and the other 10,000 square feet -- on 26 acres on Route 140.

Continental Realty plans to renovate those buildings for use by multiple tenants. "We're still working on plans for that," Strouse said.

The company, founded in 1960, has more than 2 million square feet of retail space, 1.2 million square feet of warehouse space and more than 100 acres of undeveloped land in Maryland, Northern Virginia and southwest Florida.

"We continue to grow, as we look for strategic opportunities to increase our portfolio," Strouse said.

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