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    Eastern Pa. Retail Development Project Bucks Slow Economy

    With several development projects across the country stalled or delayed until the economy turns a corner, a Pennsylvania retail development dubbed Exeter Commons is bucking the trend, with 94 percent of its space pre-leased as a late-summer opening approaches.

    With several development projects across the country stalled or delayed until the economy turns a corner, a Pennsylvania retail development dubbed Exeter Commons is bucking the trend, with 94 percent of its space pre-leased as a late-summer opening approaches.

    The 490,000-square-foot project, located about 40 miles southwest of Allentown, Pa., is being developed by Exeter JV Associates L.P., a partnership of The Goldenberg Group and Ironwood Property Group. The cost of the project was not disclosed.

    Exeter Commons’ plum location at the crosshairs of a fast-growing regional corridor was key to enabling the project to meet and exceed occupancy projections when others stalled, according to Kevin Trapper, SVP of The Goldenberg Group, which is based in Blue Bell, Pa.

    “Exeter is the gateway into Berks County, which is one of the fastest growing counties in Pennsylvania,” Trapper told Commercial Property News. “The location was the hole in the doughnut. National retailers had stores in surrounding communities, but nothing in Exeter. This project seemed to remain a priority from national tenants.”

    Two of Exeter Commons’ anchor stores --Target and Giant-Carlisle -- are scheduled to open in late July, with the grand opening of Lowe’s to follow in August.

    “Consumers are excited that they won’t have to drive 20 miles to go to Lowes, Target or Giant Foods,” Trapper said. “Even with the economy and the slower expansion of tenants, this project is on schedule, with Target planning on opening July 26 and others circling around that date. [The complex] is 94 percent leased and we have several prospects for the remaining 16,000 square feet.”

    Exeter Commons will be the largest shopping center in Exeter Township. In addition to the anchor tenants, the property will also house Sonic Drive-In, Wells Fargo/Wachovia, Red Robin, Chick-Fil-A and Affinity Bank.

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