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Retail giants to anchor new Pa. shopping center

March 04, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

It's official. Wal-Mart is coming to the Waynesboro area. So is Lowe's.

Bruce E. Haney, vice president of Echo Real Estate Services/Development, a Pittsburgh real estate development firm, confirmed at a press conference Wednesday that the two retail giants will open stores on a 50-acre tract east of the Food Lion shopping center in Washington Township, Pa.

Construction could begin later this year once all state and local permits are secured, Haney said. This will be the eighth Wal-Mart his firm has developed. His company also has developed six or seven Lowe's home improvement stores, he said.

The new Lowe's could open in the summer of 2005, the Wal-Mart a few months later, he said.

Wal-Mart will include a grocery store and will cover 173,000 square feet. The Lowe's will take up 116,000 square feet.

For comparison, the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Hagerstown covers 202,000 square feet and the Lowe's there is the same size as the one to be built in Washington Township, he said.

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The Wal-Mart store will have 900 parking spaces, the Lowe's, 500, Haney said.

The shopping center will include 30,000 square feet of small-store retail space plus an outparcel possibly earmarked for a chain restaurant, Haney said.

He estimated that the center would create about 500 jobs, mostly low-end retail positions.

He also projected that the shopping center, which will cost between $25 million and $30 million to build including land purchases, will generate up to $400,000 a year in taxes for the township.

The main entrance will be off Pa. 16 across from Yingling's Garage at 11508 Buchanan Trail East (Pa. 16). Earlier plans called for the entrance to be 500 yards west at Green Arbor Flower & Shrubbery Center at 11401 Buchanan Trail East, but that plan was dropped.

Echo Development will pay to build a new four-way intersection at Yingling's Garage, which not only will be used as the shopping center's main entrance, but will include a new connector road running 500 feet south to join Pa. 16 with Old Route 16.

That project will involve moving an existing traffic signal in front of Green Arbor to the new intersection, he said.

Haney said his firm has bought land on all four corners of the new intersection for future development.

The developer also will pay to build a connector road around the east edge of the shopping center. It will begin at Old Route 16 and end at Old Forge Road, where a Knouse foods packing shed once stood.

The road will run eight-tenths of a mile, Haney said. Its intersection with Old Forge Road will provide a second entrance to the center.

That new road also will be the beginning of a five-mile bypass around Waynesboro that will reconnect with Pa. 16 west of the borough.

The idea for a relief route around Waynesboro was discussed early last year by the Washington Township Supervisors. It was dropped in the face of strong local citizen opposition. It resurfaced later in 2003 when the supervisors approved the rezoning of more than 1,000 acres of contiguous farmland to mostly residential development plus some limited commercial development, including the 50 acres for the Wal-Mart/Lowe's project.

The residential development firms that plan to build about 1,300 single- and multi-family homes on the newly rezoned farmland have agreed to build the section of bypass road that runs through their properties.

Township Administrator Michael Christopher said Monday about 1.2 miles of the relief route has yet to be secured by the township.

He said one of the remaining strips would connect Old Forge Road with Country Club Road. The other is a stretch along Gehr Road halfway to its intersection with Pa. 997.

Haney said he has permission from the developer of the Food Lion shopping center to add a third entrance to the Wal-Mart center if it's needed.

He said Wal-Mart marketing analysts require a trade area of 45,000 people to support a new store. "Lowe's needs a little more," he said.

Supervisor Stewart McCleaf said the township has been planning for the kind of commercial and residential growth that is coming. The relief route will ensure that Pa. 16 won't become like U.S. 30 east of Chambersburg, Pa., a heavily traveled route crowded on both sides with commercial development.

"We planned for this growth so there would be a place where our residents can shop," McCleaf said.

"I just want it done right," Supervisor Chris Firme said. "I want minimum lighting, protection of Red Run and I want it to look pleasing instead of just a big parking lot. Hopefully the developer and supervisors can work together."

Red Run is a small stream that runs along what will be the shopping center's southern edge.

When asked, Haney suggested naming the shopping center Waynesboro Commons. He was quickly corrected by Christopher who said, "Washington Commons."

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