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52-acre shopping center proposed in Jefferson County

March 03, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

RANSON, W.Va. - Plans are under way for an approximately $30 million shopping retail complex along the Charles Town Bypass that would contain 17 stores and about 500,000 square feet in shopping space, Ranson officials said Tuesday.

The shopping center, which will be known as Potomac Marketplace, will be on 52 acres near the northern tip of the bypass, said Ranson City Manager David Mills. The site is where the Marcus family has a model home along the bypass.

The property is among a number of parcels that have been annexed into Ranson over the last couple of years.

Mills said he did not know who the developer is because several individuals are involved in the project.

The Ranson Planning Commission gave approval to a site improvement plan for the project Monday night, and Mills said he does not foresee any problems in the construction process.

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The shopping center, which Mills said would be the biggest in Jefferson County, will be built in three phases. The first phase is expected to be open by 2005 and will contain about 200,000 square feet of commercial space, Mills said.

Although Mills said he does not know what type of businesses will be in the first phase, they could include stores that are typical tenants in shopping centers, such as grocery stores and department stores.

The stores will likely be businesses "that we all know exist in the Hagerstown and Frederick markets," Mills said.

The developers will come up with a plan for the complex, then go to prospective retailers in an attempt to attract them to the center, Mills said.

"The market kind of determines who signs up for leasing," Mills said.

Briar Run Estates, which is off Flowing Springs Road, is east of the proposed shopping center location, Mills said. Residents in Briar Run Estates have expressed concern about traffic from the shopping center using Oak Lee Drive, which extends from the back of Briar Run to the property where the center is being built, Mills said.

Mills said he has been emphasizing to Briar Run residents that the main entrance to the shopping center will be off the Charles Town Bypass. Also, a boulevard-type road is being planned between the shopping center and Flowing Springs Road which will provide a more attractive route to Flowing Springs Road, Mills said.

A traffic circle planned for Oak Lee Drive between the shopping center and Briar Run Estates should control speeding on the road, Mills said.

Mills said the developers have volunteered to give Ranson about $225,000 in "proffers." Proffers consist of money that developers give to governments to help pay for services needed because of growth.

"It's been a good experience working with this particular company," Mills said.

Ranson Mayor David Hamill said he is excited over what the shopping center can provide in terms of jobs and giving people more shopping and dining opportunities.

"Hopefully, the local residents will support this," Hamill said.

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