New $10M retail center taking shape in Lower Paxton

Developer eyes mid-2019 for leasing, hopes to open spaces by late 2019, early 2020

A Dauphin County developer is hoping to start leasing restaurant and retail spaces next year for a new neighborhood shopping center slated for construction in Lower Paxton Township.

Developer Eric Kessler of Lower Paxton Township-based Vanguard Realty Group said he expects to begin construction this summer on a project known as Forest Hills Commons near Linglestown and Colonial roads, with tenant leasing to begin by mid-2019.

The township-approved center, which could open by late 2019 or early 2020, would be built on nearly 13 acres at the intersection, behind a Sheetz and across from a Weis Markets. Forest Hills Commons would include about 70,000 square feet of space spread across a multi-tenant building and smaller pad sites.

Kessler, who said the project will cost more than $10 million to build, is hoping for about a dozen tenants, including at least four family-style and fast-casual restaurants. He expects the new center also may attract banks, cell phone companies and other small boutique retailers.

Susquehanna Township-based A.P. Williams Inc. is the general contractor on the project.

Lemoyne-based RSR Realtors and Springettsbury Township-based Bennett Williams Realty are involved in marketing Forest Hills.

Adjacent property for sale

As Kessler prepares for construction at Forest Hills, he has listed a nearby property, the Sports City indoor soccer complex, for sale with RSR Realtors. The asking price is $2.4 million.

The complex has been used by the Capital Area Soccer Association, which is affiliated with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Soccer League and known by the initials CASA. But the soccer club may be leaving the facility after this year, Kessler said.

He said he would rather find another long-term tenant for the complex, built in 1972, but the building is available for purchase in the meantime.

The facility is about 47,000 square feet, including about 4,000 square feet leased to the Kimlee Vietnamese Restaurant.

Kessler said he would prefer to secure a discount retailer, like Aldi, or another company to lease the space. Other possible uses for the property, according to RSR, include a distribution or wholesale center.

“It’s rare to see an existing building with so much potential become available just as new development is underway nearby,” said RSR CEO Jim Koury.

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