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A retail hot zone develops

Lancaster County seems to have it all — a thriving local business scene downtown and chain retailers on the outskirts of the city. A melting pot when it comes to retail, new developments are on the way, increasing competition for current businesses.

In reality, for every one store that opens, you might see one store that closes, according to Bob Gorland, vice president of Matthew P. Casey & Associates. With more than 30 years of experience, Gorland specializes in retail and supermarket feasibility studies and works at the company’s Harrisburg office.

New retail includes the recently announced The Crossings at Conestoga Creek and the Shoppes at Belmont, both in Manheim Township. With these lifestyle shopping centers on the way by 2018, existing businesses may have to upgrade to stay in the game.

“After 2018, you have a situation where the strong will survive and those that are weak will die,” Gorland said. “You’ll always have that happen.”

Despite the seeming divide between the local businesses downtown and big retail options in the suburbs, a blending of the two is part of the plan.

New retail coming

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The newest proposal, The Crossings at Conestoga Creek, aims to meet people’s needs while connecting multiple communities.

High Real Estate Group LLC recently announced plans to move forward with The Crossings at Conestoga Creek in Manheim Township, a development across from Long’s Park that has been in the works since the mid-2000s.

Originally proposed as a lifestyle shopping center, the plan now includes a large anchor store, two or three junior anchors and additional retail spaces. The Main Street shopping design, with benches, pocket parks, a water feature and an outdoor fire place, will be pedestrian friendly and encourage people to spend time there.

The Crossings will also include restaurants, a hotel and a 258-unit, upscale apartment building. The center will require improvements to the highway and roads surrounding the location as well as a creek that runs through the property, at a project cost totaling $100 million, according to Ken Hornbeck, vice president of development at High Associates Ltd., an affiliate of High Real Estate Group.

Although the anchor store is selected, the retailer cannot yet be disclosed. High Real Estate Group could say only that there has been interest expressed both by Lancaster residents and by the company to open the store.

Lenay Ruhl

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