Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Retail project approaches critical approval

The future of a massive retail-development and traffic-improvement project proposed for Lancaster County could be decided in a few weeks.

The future of a massive retail-development and traffic-improvement project proposed for Lancaster County could be decided in a few weeks.

Manheim Township officials have held conditional-use hearings for several months on High Real Estate Group’s Crossings at Conestoga Creek project. Officials are expected to decide within a month whether to grant conditional use to the complex, which would include up to 650,000 square feet of space dedicated to shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.

High’s numerous efforts to address questions from municipal officials, community leaders and residents about the project should help the company receive the approvals it needs, said Ben Bamford, senior development manager with High Real Estate Group, which is based in East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County.

“I’m optimistic that we are going to receive a positive vote from the Manheim Township commissioners,” he said.

Even if the Crossings gets conditional-use approval from Manheim Township, that is not the end of the story for the development. The project then has to go through a land-development process before it can get final approval. If all goes according to plan, the retail complex likely would be completed and ready to open by fall 2010, Bamford said.

The Crossings at Conestoga Creek would be on 90 acres near Route 30 and Harrisburg Pike. The main components of the project are the retail development and associated traffic improvements. The traffic improvements include widening a swath of Harrisburg Pike and reconfiguring the interchange between the roadway and Route 30.

The cost of developing the Crossings and implementing the traffic enhancements is expected to top $100 million. The money will come from a variety of federal, state and private sources, Bamford said.

No retailers have signed on to open at the complex yet. However, Bamford said High Real Estate Groups is looking for stores now only in Philadelphia and Maryland. He declined to give specific examples.

The traffic improvements are more numerous than typically would be required for a retail development project, Bamford said. High Real Estate Group decided to propose broader improvements because such enhancements are necessary for already congested Harrisburg Pike to handle the increased traffic the Crossings and other projects will bring, he said.

Environmental improvements are planned, as well. High plans to develop about 42 acres of the site. The rest of the land will be devoted to environmentally friendly projects that include wetlands enhancement and a nature trail.

The Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry has not taken a formal position on the Crossings project, but it does support improvements to Harrisburg Pike, said Tom Baldrige, the chamber’s president. The Lancaster County Planning Commission has teamed up with the chamber and the James Street Improvement District to study the future of the roadway and how it can be addressed through road improvements and enhancements to mass transit and alternative modes of transportation. The study is expected to be ready this summer, Baldrige said.

So much development is going on along the roadway that it’s vital to make sure officials are prepared to deal with increased traffic, said Lisa Riggs, executive director of the James Street Improvement District. Among those developments are the expansion of Lancaster General health system’s campus in East Hempfield Township and Franklin and Marshall College’s College Row project in Lancaster. “It’s a critical gateway corridor into and out of the city, and we want to interconnect all of these projects,” Riggs said. “Our timing is quite good. We’re not at a crisis point. We’re at an opportunity point.”

Business Events

Health Care Update Webinar

Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Health Care Update Webinar

Highmark Webinar

Wednesday, June 08, 2022
Highmark Webinar

Women of Influence

Thursday, June 30, 2022
Women of Influence