MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Food Lion under construction within view of the Interstate 81 exit for Marlowe and Falling Waters, W.Va., is slated to open by the end of the year, a spokesman for the supermarket chain said last week.
The 35,000-square-foot store off Williamsport Pike (U.S. 11) is the anchor to the Riverside Marketplace shopping center and is Food Lion's ninth location in the Eastern Panhandle.
"We look forward to serving the Falling Waters community, and providing low prices to local customers," Food Lion spokesman Benny L. Smith said.
Riverside Marketplace LLC owner Robert "Rob" Rotz of Hagerstown said he believes Food Lion will be successful where the pace of growth has been the highest in Berkeley County.
"Food Lion is very good at what they do," Rotz said.
At the end of 2010, there were more than 1,100 Food Lion supermarkets in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, according to Brussels-based Delhaize Group, which operates them.
The company also said on its website that it operates more than 400 supermarkets under the names of Bloom, Bottom Dollar Food, Harveys, Hannaford and Sweetbay.
Alongside the Food Lion at 78 Worchester Drive, Rotz said he hopes to have tenants in seven retail suites in the shopping center in the near future.
"Some of them are done deals and will open by the end of the year," Rotz said.
Rotz indicated service-oriented businesses such as a pizzeria, salon and laundromat were among possible tenants, but he declined to elaborate further.
Rotz's plans for the 20-acre Riverside Marketplace include an 80-room hotel and a bank, but there is no commitment from an investor for the development of either at this time, he said.
While the economic climate is challenging, Rotz said the retail center is in a good location off the first southbound exit for I-81 in West Virginia.
"We really are excited about the center," Rotz said.
Rotz said he expects northern Berkeley County's close proximity to Maryland and the Baltimore-Washington area will remain attractive to commuters, but admits he doesn't know when residential development will rebound.
"It's still really tough, I think," said Rotz, noting there are few positives in the residential market.
Behind Riverside Marketplace, Rotz said they have a 1,000-unit residential project — Riverside South — that includes plans for a mix of town houses, single-family homes and apartments.
"We plan to be around for the long term," Rotz said.