Saturday, March 13, 2010

Why a project sometimes skids to a halt

I've been lucky enough to play a small part in some exciting development projects in the last five years, and I thought I'd illustrate a classic example of why it sometimes seems like it takes FOREVER for a project to be built after it's announced. A project starts with the vision and persistence of developers, who must be resourceful and well-funded to make a project feasible in the first place. Then the success of the project often lies in the open-mindedness of municipal leaders and neighbors, the availability of the funding sources the developer was counting on (sometimes state or federal grants), and/or the developer's compliance with the red tape that goes along with getting anything approved by any government entity. If any part of this equation doesn't add up, the project stalls, or fails.

Sometimes, in an effort to move a project forward, a developer will have to make compromises. Slight modifications to the original plan, or additional amenities to the neighborhood, might be required in able for the project to receive approval. Meanwhile, the developer has investors and/or funders, as well as tenants and/or design/build clients to keep happy, not to mention the people who live and work near the project and the municipality in which it is located.

The Sheetz gas station that everyone was so excited about on Route 248 in Palmer Township is getting the axe (for now), thanks to the Township's concerns over a study that showed that the corridor (once a sleepy two-lane farm road connecting Nazareth with Easton) can't handle the expected traffic from the addition of the so-called "Mecca on the Go." Instead, the developer will move ahead with the bank and CVS planned for the project, and the area slated for Sheetz will remain undeveloped.

Just a reminder: on Route 248 between Route 33 and Route 22 , there are already nine banks and five pharmacies for people driving the 14,000+ cars that travel the 3.5-mile route daily, but only two older, traditional gas stations. No Wawa. No 7-11. And at least for now, no Sheetz.

(But you can still get a Sheetz Snuggie at their online store!)

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