Hershey Trust unveils mixed-use concept plan for 'Hershey West End'Officials say formal plan submission may happen later this year
A concept plan for a long-anticipated development on 230 acres of farmland near the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center was unveiled Monday night in Derry Township.
The Hershey Trust Co., one of the township's largest landholders and owner of the tract off Route 322 and Bullfrog Valley Road, held an informal open house at the Cocoa Beanery on Research Boulevard to display early sketches and gather input from citizens on the plan for what has been dubbed "Hershey West End."
Trust spokesman Ken Gall said he expects formal plans to be submitted to the township "later this year." Site work could begin as early as next year, depending on the approval process, said Paul Ostergaard, managing principal with Pittsburgh-based Urban Design Associates, the master planner for the site.
The concept under consideration is a village-style mixed-use plan that would blend residential clusters, including single-family homes, apartments and possibly townhomes, with commercial and mixed-use structures.
The latter could include shops and restaurants, and possibly a hotel. Some residential units may be located above the shops.
Design firms engaged in the early-stage planning hope to leave 50 percent of the tract as open space, Ostergaard said. There could be trails, parks and a village square in what is expected to be a walkable suburban development that will feel like a small urban village.
Early-phase projects would include an expansion of the U-Gro Learning Centre, a possible medical office building for Penn State Health, an adaptive reuse of a large existing barn for an entertainment venue called The Englewood and senior housing for the nearby Grace United Methodist Church.
Ostergaard said the development, which likely will take 15 to 20 years to fully build out, should appeal to the growing workforce in and around the medical center.
Demand remains strong for new housing options to serve that population as well as empty nesters who are looking to downsize but want to remain close to local amenities, he said.
The trust has been exploring mixed-use development for the tract for about the last two years, officials said.