Businessman may purchase Diller farm

January 30, 2001

Businessman may purchase Diller farm

By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A Harrisburg, Pa., area businessman is the most recent potential developer to eye a 120-acre farm in Washington Township as a site for a major shopping center.

Township officials said Tuesday they won't consider Mark G. Caldwell's interest in the Carl Diller farm to be serious until he walks into the township office with definite plans.

"We won't get excited until we see a deed change hands," Jerry Zeigler, township zoning-enforcement officer, said Tuesday.

Zeigler said the area needs the kind of commercial development that Caldwell has proposed for the Diller farm.

Caldwell could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Zeigler said whoever develops the property has to build a road extending from Welty Road to Little Antietam Creek. At that point, Washington Township will build a bridge over the creek and extend the road to Country Club Road.


The new road would serve as a bypass around Waynesboro for Quincy Township-area residents going to the shopping center, he said.

Zeigler said Caldwell is not the first developer to show an interest in the commercially-zoned Diller farm. The property features an old stone farmhouse, barns and several acres.

"People started to get serious about that land in 1998. Several developers have told us that they had the money to buy the farm, but no one has come up with it yet," he said.

Zeigler said the farm is worth several million dollars. "It's been on the market for about five years," he said.

Peter Framson, a Baltimore-area developer, told township officials a year ago that he wanted to build Silo Ridge Development on the Diller farm. Framson's plans called for a major department store, a large grocery store, a 1,200-seat movie theater and smaller shops.

Zeigler said he has heard nothing from Framson since then.

"Developers seem to be getting more serious about the farm, but nobody has handed Mr. Diller a big check yet," Zeigler said.

Development has changed the face of the part of Washington Township dissected by Pa. 16 that runs east of Welty Road to Old Mill Road. Many of the single-family homes on both sides have been razed for commercial use or converted into business and office space. The homes are in a commercial zone and the land under them is growing more valuable, Zeigler said.

Some owners have sold their homes to commercial buyers, while other older owners chose to keep their homes, he said.

The Wayne Heights Mall opened in the 1970s, about a decade after Waynesboro Mall opened in the borough.

Two new commercial developments will open this year along Buchanan Trail East.

The biggest is Waynesboro Market Place at 11105 Buchanan Trail East. It's being built by Timber Development Corp. of Marietta, Ga., and will include a Food Lion, a Dollar General, a Goodwill and some smaller restaurants and shops. Timber Development opened a similar shopping center in Greencastle, Pa., last year.

AC&T bought the former Skateland building and property on the northeast corner of Buchanan Trail East and Old Forge Road. The roller skating rink building has been razed to make room for a gas station and convenience story.

"We need more commercial development here," Zeigler said. "Every time I go shopping in Hagerstown, I run into people from this area."

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