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Retail development taking shape along Route 422 near Annville

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A furniture retailer is under contract, a restaurant is interested in relocating and plans are in front of county officials to get a Lebanon County retail development off the ground after seven years of planning.

Annette Cassel Means, an associate broker at High Associates in Harrisburg, said a 7-acre piece of the 31.5-acre property along Route 422 at Clear Spring Road in North Annville Township is under contract with an unidentified furniture retailer. A local restaurant is in negotiations to relocate to the development, Means said, and there have been inquiries from businesses interested in locating in a proposed strip mall.

Names of the interested companies cannot be divulged, Means said, due to ongoing negotiations.

Means said developer and property owner H.R. Weaver Building Systems of North Londonderry Township hopes to start construction this fall for the furniture store, which should open in the spring.

The furniture store is proposed at 86,170 square feet, according to Kristopher D. Troup, executive director of the Lebanon County Planning Department. The land development plan was submitted Aug. 21 to the department for approval, Troup said.

The plan includes four buildings — one for the furniture store, one for a restaurant, one for the strip mall and another reserved for a hotel. While there hasn’t been a hotel company signed on to the development, Means said she doesn’t believe it will be hard to find one.

“Lebanon County really needs a hotel,” she said. “Lebanon Valley College wishes there was a hotel there. There are very limited spots for banquets. It’s a need in the county and in that area.”

The land development plan also includes construction of a street, Clear Spring Drive, which will provide another connection between Route 422 and Clear Spring Road, Troup said.

The developer has owned the property since 2006, Means said, and has always had the idea of turning it into a retail center. The recession hit, however, and the project was put on hold until the market improved.

“The market tells you when to build, you don’t tell the market,” she said. “Not unless you want to get in trouble. But I think any commercial real estate agent right now would tell you the market is warming up.”

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