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Susquehanna Township approves master plan for Vartan project

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A rendering of Susquehanna Union Green, a proposed mixed-use development at the corner of Progress Avenue and Linglestown Road in Susquehanna Township.
A rendering of Susquehanna Union Green, a proposed mixed-use development at the corner of Progress Avenue and Linglestown Road in Susquehanna Township. - (Photo / )

The Susquehanna Township board of commissioners voted unanimously on Thursday to approve the master plan for a 59-acre mixed-use project at the corner of Progress Avenue and Linglestown Road.

The developer, Susquehanna Township-based Vartan Group Inc., can now move forward with final plans for each of the project's five phases.

The overall vision for Susquehanna Union Green calls for a mix of single-family homes, a senior-living campus and a variety of commercial buildings, including retail shops, office space and restaurants as well as a 110-room hotel. A neighborhood grocery store also could be included.

The best-case scenario, said Vartan Group CEO H. Ralph Vartan, is to have approvals in place for work to begin on the first phase in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Vartan, who first proposed the concept for the development in 2014, called Thursday's board approval a second major milestone for the project.

The first big victory was achieved last winter when the board voted to create a traditional neighborhood development zone, or TND, within the township's zoning and subdivision and land development ordinances.

The zoning change paved the way for Vartan to begin the engineering phase of the project and develop the master plan that was approved this week for land development.

Susquehanna Union Green is the type of large-scale project that takes time to plan and build, Vartan said. He gave the township credit for being active in the design of the project and collaborating with his team to refine the vision.

"The plan is significantly better than the first draft and that is a credit to the township," Vartan said.

The initial phase of the project would involve on- and off-site infrastructure improvements that still need approval by the state Department of Transportation and other third-party agencies.

That work would include putting in new traffic lanes to accommodate increased traffic flowing in and out of the development. It also would include work on utility infrastructure and stormwater management, and development of parks and green spaces.

The site work is expected to take about six to nine months, Vartan said.

Once site work is moving on Susquehanna Union Green, the vertical construction can begin. The second phase, a commercial area, calls for a Union Green town center that would rise in a 28-acre space at the front of the site.

More than two dozen commercial buildings would be spread along Progress Avenue and Linglestown Road, with a hotel planned for the center of the tract. Vartan has not announced tenants for the site.

Retail and office buildings in phases two and three of the project will total about 300,000 square feet.

The two residential phases of Susquehanna Union Green are at the rear of the site. The senior housing and community center component would occupy five buildings and include more than 200 age-restricted units.

There also are 31 single-family homes included in the development plan.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin and Cumberland counties. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal.

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