Primanti Bros., other tenants in works for downtown Hershey project
A $25 million commercial redevelopment project in the heart of Derry Township is starting to take shape.
After receiving final land development approvals this summer, Wormleysburg-based RVG Management & Development Co. has begun site work for new commercial buildings along West Chocolate Avenue.
The new structures will add about 32,000 square feet of space for shops and restaurants. Mainline Excavating, based in Susquehanna Township, has been hired for the pad work.
"We should have building permits for the new buildings this month," said Ed Fetter, senior vice president for RVG .
The Cumberland County development company bought the former Hershey post office property at 169 W. Chocolate Ave. last year after the previous owner failed to restructure financing for the nearly five-acre project. RVG is calling the development Hershey Towne Square.
The plan is to have the buildings completed for tenant fit-out by April, with the first stores open by June 2018, Fetter said. About 85 percent of the town center is committed, though leases have not yet been fully executed so he wouldn't disclose tenants.
Primanti Bros. is the only tenant he would confirm, as the Pittsburgh-based restaurant chain has already appeared before the township.
Other media outlets are reporting that a Starbucks, Great Clips, Tropical Smoothie Cafe and Jersey Mike's Subs are committed to the site, based on a marketing flyer put out by Bennett Williams Retail.
A Pie Five Pizza also has been mentioned, but Fetter said the pizza chain will not be part of the downtown development.
"We should have all leases wrapped up over the next two weeks," he said.
All of the new buildings will be single-story facilities. RVG's plan also includes a renovated 60,000-square-foot building at the rear of the site. Formerly a post office, the building is being marketed to commercial office users.
Earlier this year, RVG was pushing a larger mixed-use development plan for the site, but a tax incentive was rejected by school district officials. The earlier plan called for apartments and a larger parking garage.
The modified plan has not dimmed the site's appeal, Fetter said. However, he believes recently unveiled plans by the Hershey Trust Co. to develop a 230-acre tract off Route 322 near Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center could hurt other development in Derry Township in the short term.
"The nationals will sit back and wait," he said.
The Hershey Trust mixed-use proposal is known as "Hershey West End".