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Upper Allen OKs first phase of Oakwood Hills development

The first phase of a large mixed-use project near Messiah College in Upper Allen Township has been approved for construction.

Township commissioners this week signed off on phase 1A of the project off U.S. Route 15, known as Oakwood Hills, which is being developed by Rider Musser Development LLC.

Oakwood Hills is comprised of three tracts of land totaling more than 100 acres between West Lisburn, Mill and Quail Hollow roads near the college. Messiah College bought the farmland over the last 20 years. The college’s board of trustees then created the independent for-profit corporation, Rider Musser, to oversee day-to-day operations and decision-making related to the development.

The current master plan for the site calls for 392 one- and two-bedroom market-rate apartments spread over eight buildings.

The first phase approved Wednesday by the township will include two 59-unit apartment buildings and one 19-unit building. There also will be a clubhouse with a fitness center, with plans for a pool, playground, picnic and grilling area, as well as dog park.

Rider Musser also will build a roundabout at West Lisburn Road, Grantham Road and the new addition of Oakwood Hills Drive, which will connect West Lisburn and Mill roads.

“After two years of hearings and neighbor meetings and lots of work, we are very pleased that the Upper Allen Township Board of Commissioners has given us the green light to begin Oakwood Hills,” said David “Kelly” Phipps, president and CEO of the development company.

Rider Musser still has several items to check off its pre-construction list, he said, but construction should begin soon. In late August, he said he was hoping to have shovels in the ground by spring 2018.

Oakwood Hills, which is slated to cost $125 million to $130 million to develop, also will have a mix of commercial buildings. The plan calls for multiple restaurants, an event venue/boutique hotel, professional office buildings and pads for a bank and convenience store.

Retail development is not expected on the site.

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