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Shopping center proposed near I-70

August 01, 2007|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY

A developer is proposing a shopping center of at least 600,000 square feet at U.S. 40 and Interstate 70, on the outskirts of Hagerstown.

An illustration of the center, called Beaver Creek Plaza, has four new stores of more than 100,000 square feet. It also has a cinema and a grocery store, along with several smaller shops.

The version that Faison Enterprises, the developer, is marketing at its Web site shows both land it owns and land it's negotiating to buy from Kent Oliver, according to Howard Biel, Faison's senior managing director.

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"It's a very preliminary plan," he said.

Oliver has asked the county to rezone an additional 120 acres that is next to the land shown in the shopping center plan.

Washington County Commissioner James F. Kercheval said Oliver wants the western half of the 120 acres to be switched to a highway-interchange zone that would allow the shopping center.

If Oliver's land is rezoned and Faison buys some, it could change the layout of the shopping center.

Biel said several retailers are interested in the center. However, Faison is not currently soliciting Wal-Mart to open a store there, he said.

Faison hasn't submitted a development plan to Washington County, which has jurisdiction because the land is just outside the city of Hagerstown.

Terry McGee, Washington County's chief engineer, said the county has talked to the developer about a traffic study.

A study will have to wait at least a little while, though. McGee said the county doesn't allow a traffic study while school is on summer break.

The largest building in the illustration of the proposed shopping center is a 180,000-square-foot department store that would be two levels.

Next in size are:

n a 148,000-square-foot "club" store

n a 134,000-square-foot anchor store

n a 102,000-square-foot home improvement store.

The plan also shows a grocery store of 76,000 square feet. Biel said it actually could be about 20 percent smaller or larger.

A cinema of 65,000 square feet is shown, too.

Faison is simultaneously working to find retailers for the center and figuring out construction logistics, such as terrain, building configuration and road access, Biel said.

He didn't know when the company might be ready to submit a specific plan to the county for review.

Faison also is developing the Stone House Square shopping center on Leitersburg Pike, just north of Eastern Boulevard.

The anchor, a Lowe's home improvement store, is expected to open in the fall, said Jim Castillo, Faison's retail development director.

Castillo said the grocery store at Stone House Square will be Weis and could open next spring.

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