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Food Lion eyed for northern Berkeley County

April 19, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. --A Food Lion grocery store proposed near the Interstate 81 exit for Marlowe/Falling Waters in northern Berkeley County could be open by next year, the project's developer said Monday.

A 35,000-square-foot grocery store is part of Riverside Marketplace, a 20.33-acre retail development on the east side of U.S. 11 near exit 23 off Interstate 81. The project proposed by Robert Rotz of Riverside Marketplace LLC also includes a 29,400-square-foot retail facility, a 3,684-square-foot bank, an 80-room hotel and two outparcels.

The Berkeley County Planning Commission voted unanimously Monday evening to advance the retail center project to the county's preliminary plan review stage.

A hearing held Monday by the Planning Commission attracted no public comments, but one planning commissioner voiced concerns about traffic management.

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"The Food Lion deal is done," Rotz said after the commission vote. "There is always something that could come in and be a fly in the ointment, and sort of shut things down or slow things down, but we hope that by late next summer (the Food Lion) will be open."

Rotz told planning commissioners that Food Lion was very involved in the project site's development and "they found this site plan acceptable."

Rotz's comments came in response to Planning Commissioner Richard Rauch's questions regarding traffic flow and how nearby residential development would mesh with the shopping center.

"We definitely want people to be getting in and out of there easily," Rotz said, "because we plan to own the shopping center long-term."

In addition to the grocery store, Rotz said in an interview that Riverside Marketplace LLC anticipates about 12,000 square feet of "small shop" space being part of the first phase of development.

"We think this will be a good thing for Falling Waters there and hopefully it will serve (the community) for a long time to come," Rotz said.

When asked about the 80-room hotel, Rotz said it was "a little optimistic right now to even think about."

"It's really tough right now. We feel fortunate to have this, really," Rotz said.

Rotz said there are about 1,000 residential units -- a mix of town houses, single-family homes and apartments -- proposed behind the shopping center.

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