Residential development surging in Cumberland County
Cumberland County probably won't have to relinquish its crown anytime soon as the fastest-growing county in the commonwealth, especially if apartment and townhouse development continues to pick up.
If anything, the county could need a bigger crown.
As of early July, developers had proposed nearly 900 apartments in the county this year, exceeding a 2015 when 465 units were proposed.
“It’s hard to say what’s driving it,” said Jeff Kelly, the county’s deputy planning director. “Coming off the recession, there may be a market for smaller, more affordable housing.”
It’s not just about the apartments, though.
Builders also have been trying to catch up with the demand for single-family housing, which has been on the rise for the last four or five years. Year-to-date sales across the midstate are well ahead of last year’s pace, as a shrinking inventory of existing homes has pushed up prices and available listings are drawing multiple offers.
Nearly 350 single-family homes have been proposed this year, Kelly said. The largest development is Spring Meadow Reserve, a 79-unit project at Woods Drive and Texaco Road in Silver Spring Township, the county’s strongest magnet for residential growth.
Silver Spring Township, among the fastest-growing municipalities in the commonwealth, has posted nearly 1,700 residential building permits over the last decade.
Upper Allen growth
But don’t sleep on other parts of the West Shore, planning officials say.
Large multifamily projects are being reviewed by local and county officials in the Mechanicsburg and Carlisle areas.
In 2014, Rider Musser Development LLC introduced a plan called Oakwood Hills in Upper Allen Township near Messiah College.
The 114-acre tract between West Lisburn, Mill and Quail Hollow roads will be divided into two sections: a residential development of about 200 townhouses over more than 50 acres and a commercial area that will likely include a bank, several restaurants, some type of hospitality development and other possibilities.
The village-like concept of the residential portion, which originally called for a mix of apartments and townhouses, could include walking trails, a pool, a playground and dog park. However, the amenities have not been finalized.
Final planning for the residential phase is wrapping up, according to the developer. The plan will come back before the township in August.
The commercial development is likely a few years away from breaking ground.
“If our residential phase fills fairly quickly, then we will be moving to that phase as soon as possible,” Kelly Phipps, president and CEO of Rider Musser Development, said in a statement.
Other notable multifamily proposals in Cumberland County include the first phase of Legacy Park, a traditional neighborhood development along South Market Street in Mechanicsburg that calls for 216 apartments and 82 townhouses.
Not far away in Lower Allen Township, Charter Homes & Neighborhoods is well underway on construction of another traditional neighborhood development, the mixed-use Arcona community. Arcona, which is off Lisburn and Arcona roads, will include a blend of single-family homes and townhouses. Charter officials said in recent weeks that they expect around 75 homeowners to be living in the Arcona community by the end of the year.
Smaller multifamily communities in the works include Sporting Hill Villas, a nine-building, 208-unit apartment project off Sporting Hill and Trindle roads in Hampden Township.
Hampden Township also has 115 townhouses proposed between two other projects, Kelly said. They are Laurel Ridge Estates on Valley Road and Village of Brandywine on Jerusalem Road.
Melbourne Place, a development along Melbourne Lane in Upper Allen Township, has a third phase planned that includes 33 townhouses.
And in South Middleton Township, the second phase of Summerbridge along Eastgate Drive proposes 64 apartments in four buildings.