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Preliminary site plan approved for new shopping center

October 01, 1998|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

The Hagerstown Planning Commission on Wednesday approved a preliminary site plan for the proposed Centre at Hagerstown that includes a relocated access road with a landscaped berm and fencing.

McLean, Va., developer Phillip L. Ross and engineer Stephen G. Zoretich provided the commission with an update of their plans to build a $40 million shopping center near the U.S. 40 and I-81 interchange.

Ross said the tentative approval was necessary to allow the developer to market the mall and secure financing.

He told the commission that the Maryland State Highway Administration approved a plan to move the proposed four-lane entry road to the east around Swann Road and residential properties.

Developers said they agreed to move the road after hearing complaints from homeowners near the site. The original plan would have placed six homes on a median strip between U.S. 40 and the entry road to the shopping complex.

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Details about the length of the road and exactly how it will merge with the center still must be determined, Ross said.

Ross said his company will attempt to lessen the shopping center's impact on neighboring properties by installing a grassy, landscaped berm.

An 8-foot fence will be installed to block the view of the center and muffle sounds coming from it.

"The residents were happy with it," Ross said of the idea.

Progress on the shopping center is moving ahead with mainly technical questions from city and state agencies being addressed, he said.

"No one is saying we can't do what we're doing," he said.

Ross said the shopping center will be a regional draw that will attract 200,000 people.

The center could have at least 11 anchor stores, which could range in size from 25,000 square feet to more than 130,000 square feet. They could include a bookstore, home improvement center and clothing and furniture stores. A 20-screen movie complex also may be included.

Ross said most of the tenants will be new to the area. He would not name any of the anchor stores that will go into the shopping complex.

"We're doing everything we can to break ground this fall," he said.

He said he expects to complete the first phase of construction by late next summer.

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