Berks County-based Metropolitan Development Group is hoping to break ground later this year on a 200-unit market-rate apartment complex along Route 39 in West Hanover Township.
The developer has preliminary plan approval — final approval could occur this spring — for what it is calling Manada Hill Apartments.
Metropolitan is looking to build on about 13 acres of a larger land tract owned by the Capital Bible Church at 100 N. Hershey Road, said Bill Gladstone of Wormleysburg-based commercial real estate firm NAI CIR, the agent brokering the deal.
The Wyomissing firm develops and manages apartment complexes in Delaware and Pennsylvania. It owns about 2,000 units.
In addition to Manada Hill, it is planning a 144-unit apartment complex off the Paxton Creek interchange of Interstate 81 in Susquehanna Township, breaking ground on 160 units in Berks County and building 120 units in Elizabethtown.
“We have about 620 units in the pipeline over the next three years,” said Brian Kobularcik, the company’s vice president of development.
And there is potential for an adjacent second phase in Elizabethtown at the company’s Featherton Crossing complex off Route 283, he said.
Kobularcik also is eyeing development possibilities on the West Shore. He was in the Enola area on Thursday with a scheduled stop in the Shippensburg area.
“There is a need,” he said of market-rate apartments and their appeal to young professionals, newlyweds and retirees looking to downsize.
Market-rate prices are about $850 to $925, on average, for one- and two-bedroom units, he said.
The biggest hurdle is overcoming the perception that apartments are going to create influxes of children in school districts or that all complexes are subsidized for low-income tenants, Kobularcik said.
Municipalities also restrict how much land they want used for high-density development projects, which limits multifamily opportunities, he said. And there are fee-in-lieu of taxes agreements that need to be ironed out.
“Everyone wants commercial development,” he said. “But you don’t get that without rooftops.”
Kobularcik said he sees a strong multifamily market for about the next decade. His company plans to continue pursuing available opportunities in and around the midstate, he said.