Major tenant backs out of Martinsburg shopping plaza project

February 12, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Plans for a shopping center on about 48 acres just outside Martinsburg's southwestern municipal boundary still include a Target store, but one large tenant has backed out of the project, the developer told Berkeley County planners Monday night.

Work on The Commons, a 430,000-square-foot shopping center to be built off W.Va. 45 and within view of the southbound lanes of Interstate 81, is expected to begin April 1, developer John M. Abernathy said after the county's planning commission gave contingent approval of plan changes.

"I was planning to put a sign up tomorrow," Abernathy said in a brief interview after leaving the meeting.

The senior consultant with AIG Baker Real Estate LLC of Birmingham, Ala., said he hopes to have the plaza open in the summer of 2009 and indicated a number of nationally known tenants are expected to occupy the plaza, which involves multiple property owners, Abernathy said.


Abernathy would not name the tenant who was slated to occupy 100,000 square feet of the project, but said that investment was replaced with an unnamed 50,000-square-foot tenant and a series of others, ranging from 1,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet.

Aside from a final approval by the county's engineering department, Abernathy clarified that the project received an entrance permit from state highways officials.

The shopping center is expected to have a single five-lane entrance and exit point along W.Va. 45, where a new traffic signal is planned.

When asked, Abernathy told Planning Commissioner Eric Goff that no application had been filed with the City of Martinsburg to have the property annexed into the city.

The Martinsburg City Council on Thursday is expected to consider adoption of an agreement with an engineering firm to draft an "alternate mainline extension" agreement for water-line improvements to serve the shopping center. The agreement is expected to be entered into between the city and the developer of the project, according to documents released by the city Monday.

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