No development plan is ever perfect.
H. Ralph Vartan knows that, but the 33-year-old is willing to spend the next 50 years attempting to reach perfection as he engages Susquehanna Township officials about rezoning his 58-acre tract at Progress Avenue and Linglestown Road.
His long-term vision: A town-center-style development with a 20-acre commercial core at the front of the property that would blend national retail and hospitality brands with regional shops, restaurants, offices and public gathering spaces, including a central green.
He has commitments from Sheetz for the pad at the intersection and a local hotel developer with plans for a 100-plus room, limited-service hotel, as well as letters of intent from two restaurants, The Pizza Grille and Hong Kong Ruby. Additional contracts are expected to be signed by the time the plan reaches the land development phase.
At the rear, there would be a mix of residential uses designed to meet the needs of various income levels and lifestyles, along with large green spaces and walking trails.
“The focus for me is 50 years from now,” said Vartan, chairman and CEO of Susquehanna Township-based Vartan Group Inc. “I’m going to be here 50 years from now to see how successful it is.”
Vartan was submitting his conceptual master plan for the property this week. He is seeking a traditional neighborhood development zoning district, or TND, for the site, which his family has owned for three decades.
Currently, the tract is in a business-office-residential zone, which is also a mixed-use zone with some limitations.
“The common goal is the highest and best use (for the property),” Vartan said of the concept, which he expects will evolve as township officials and the public have a chance to review it.
The unnamed project would need rezoning to occur before feasibility studies are conducted and engineering detail is added for a master land development plan, Vartan said.