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Home Depot, BJ's Wholesale Club coming to Martinsburg

July 08, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Deals to bring a Home Depot and a BJ's Wholesale Club to a new development along Apple Harvest Drive on Martinsburg's south end are being finalized, the project's developer said Monday.

"Obviously, these deals are always contingent upon us obtaining all of the required approvals to develop this project," said Michael D. Collier, president of Uniwest Group LLC, a Falls Church, Va., company.

One of those approvals came last week from the Martinsburg City Council, which approved the annexation of about 26 acres envisioned for the yet-to-be-named development off Virginia Avenue Extended near the Kmart and Food Lion shopping center.

In an e-mail sent Monday, Collier said the company's goal was to move the project as "quickly as the process allows."

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Collier described Home Depot and BJ's as "lead" or anchor tenants in the project and could not release the names of any others.

"The city has been working well with us in these efforts," Collier said. "We are making good progress and remain cautiously optimistic that we will have the necessary approvals allowing us to commence construction late this year with an opening next fall (in) 2009."

The opening of a BJ's Wholesale Club in Martinsburg would be a first for West Virginia, according to a media relations spokesperson who would not confirm the company's expansion into the state.

BJ's, with headquarters in Natick, Mass., promotes itself as a purveyor of high-quality, brand-name food and merchandise and claims more than 175 clubs in 16 states, according to the company's Web site. BJ's competitors are Costco Wholesale Corp. and Sam's Club.

The Home Depot bills itself as the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer with stores in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, 10 Canadian provinces, Mexico and China.

The Home Depot and BJ's along Apple Harvest Drive would join another new shopping center along the highway less than a mile west of the Uniwest project.

Earth moving is under way for The Commons shopping plaza south of Apple Harvest Drive, along the southbound lanes of Interstate 81 at Exit 12.

Building permits for a Target, Books-A-Million, Bed Bath & Beyond and PetSmart have either been issued or are pending final approval for The Commons, according to Berkeley County Planning Department records.

The Commons was proposed by developers as a 430,000-square-foot shopping center, and officials said in February 2008 they hoped to open the plaza in the summer of 2009.

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