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Shopping center's opening date debatable

January 11, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Crosspoint Shopping Center probably won't open in March as planned because cold weather may prevent the extension of Massey Boulevard to Virginia Avenue from being completed by then, Washington County Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said Monday.

Washington County requires the center's owner, Hekbel Limited Liability Corp., to finish extending four-lane Massey Boulevard to Virginia Avenue before Target, the anchor store for the $35 million to $40 million project, can open, Rohrer said.

"It's next to impossible that they can complete the project by March, primarily because of the temperature constraints they have to deal with," Rohrer said.

Chris Bell, president of Annapolis-based Greencastle Development Co., said Monday that while he is concerned about the weather he believes the March opening date will be met for the 200,000-square-foot first phase of the center.

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"It will be done," Bell said.

Hekbel is a joint venture of Greencastle and Hekemian & Co. of New Jersey.

The center is being built on 51 acres along Interstate 81 between Valley Mall and Hickory Elementary School. Access will be by Cole Road.

"We want them to succeed, we want this connection for public convenience, but we won't sacrifice county standards and risk taxpayers having to foot the bill for major repairs at a later date because someone was in a hurry to do it right," Rohrer said.

Significant work remains to be done on the road, including construction of about 150 feet near Virginia Avenue and completion of both approaches to the railroad tracks, Rohrer said.

"They have to put a surface course on all four lanes for the full length of the project with in-laid pavement markings and that's where the weather will get them," Rohrer said.

The developer has to pay for extending Massey Boulevard as part of the county's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, Rohrer said.

The ordinance requires developers to provide information showing adequate road, water, sewage and schools capacity before a project can be approved. The developer must make contributions toward any needed improvement.

Meanwhile, the relocation of nearby Cole Road is nearly complete, Rohrer said. The $2. 6 million project was done to accommodate the expanded Valley Mall, he said. The cost was offset with federal funds.

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