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Developer hopeful that scaled-down Hershey project will get approval this summer

RVG Management & Development Co. is back with a new plan for the Hershey Towne Square development. - (Photo / Courtesy of Tono Architects)

A Cumberland County developer is hoping that a scaled-down version of its project in the heart of downtown Hershey will get local approvals this summer to finally begin construction.

After failing in March to convince Derry Township school directors to approve a tax-incentive plan tied to a 130,000-square-foot mixed-use proposal, Wormleysburg-based RVG Management & Development Co. is back with a new plan that includes three new commercial buildings along West Chocolate Avenue with about 32,000 square feet of leasable space for retail and restaurant tenants, plus two outdoor plaza areas.

The Hershey Towne Square development still includes renovating the existing post office building at the rear of the site for commercial office users. The post office building is about 60,000 square feet.

But the reconfigured plan now has a much smaller parking garage — about 144 fewer spaces — than the first plan. The parking garage in the original submission was the primary reason for the tax-increment financing proposal, or TIF.

A land development plan for the commercial project will be before the township’s planning commission tonight. The next step would be the board of supervisors.

Courtesy of Tono Architects

Ed Fetter, senior vice president for RVG, said he hopes to have board approval by August so construction can move forward.

“Due to the smaller scale, we feel the original schedule can be met,” he said. “Site and building completion in the spring with stores opening in early summer (2018).”

Fetter said more than $12 million was cut from the total investment of the original project, which had been pegged at $28 million. The larger plan included 32 one- and two-bedroom apartments as part of one of the retail buildings, but those units were cut from the new plan.

RVG bought the former Hershey post office property last year after the previous owner failed to restructure financing to continue the nearly five-acre project.

Lancaster-based Tono Architects designed the development plan for RVG.

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