'Town center' project planned in Martinsburg

August 30, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Meridian Pointe, a 54-acre development envisioned by a team of developers for the northern end of Martinsburg, is being touted as a new "gateway" and economic boon for the city.

"It's almost like a town center concept that you would see in larger cities," Thomas L. Burke of Meridian Capital Partners LLC said in an interview Wednesday.

At the Martinsburg Planning Commission regular meeting next week, Burke and partnering developers with Potomac Professional Services LLC are expected to discuss their vision for the property, which is practically parallel and south of Edwin Miller Boulevard.

They specifically hope to win support for rezoning the land from residential and commercial districts, to planned unit development designations, according to a letter that developer Matthew R. Powell sent to City Engineer Michael Covell.


"We're in the middle of (conducting) a traffic study right now," Powell said in an interview Wednesday.

Powell added the group is trying to coordinate with state highway officials working on the Raleigh Street Extension project.

Though still on the drawing board, the commercial-residential development proposes more than 400,000 square feet of office and retail space and more than 500 residential units to be built along a road to connect the yet-to-be built Raleigh Street Extension with Lutz Avenue, Burke said.

Burke said the rezoning would essentially provide flexibility with rules such as height restrictions and building setbacks, but their plan includes amenities for pedestrian and bicycles and pocket parks.

"We're (also) anticipating an extended stay hotel," Burke said.

The hotel, in concept, is to be built near the development's "focal point" off Meridian Parkway, Burke said.

There, he expects ground to be broken before the end of the year for a building to provide 70,000 square feet of Class A office space and street-level retail spaces.

"We're building it to attract quality businesses," Burke said.

Burke said Meridian Pointe actually is the product of a merger of two separately proposed projects that have created a "synergistic venture."

Burke and business partner Wayne Palkovic organized Meridian Capital Partners LLC last month and about the same time joined forces with Powell of Potomac Professional Services LLC to literally connect the two projects with the proposed road.

There's some good development in the north end (of Martinsburg)," Burke said. "And I think this complements it."

Developments already under construction or recently completed near the proposed Meridian Pointe project along Edwin Miller Boulevard include buildings for Centra Bank, United Bank, Smallwood & Small Insurance, the U.S. Coast Guard National Maritime Center, an Arby's restaurant, a large office building being completed by Panhandle Builders & Excavating near the CVS and an apartment building not far from Burke and Palkovic's office off Meridian Parkway. Their office building is less than five years old.

A Walgreens store and a new worship center for Destiny Baptist Church also are expected to be built in the Edwin Miller Boulevard corridor.

"It's boomed out there," Martinsburg Mayor George Karos said.

Karos said he and City Manager Mark Baldwin have been talking with the Meridian Pointe developers for several months and described their concept plan as a "good project" for Martinsburg that would bolster tax revenues. Karos also noted the development still needs some required approvals from the City Council.

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