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The Spring Construction Season Sprouts Several Commercial Projects

As with the spring flowers that emerge in April, construction projects often also start this time of year. Four notable examples of commercial construction projects that are starting, or are about to begin, can be found on Mt Pleasant Road, South Main Street, and Church Hill Road.

George Benson, town director of planning and land use, notes that the coming construction season promises to be a busy one with those projects commencing.

At 146 Mt Pleasant Road, site preparation work is under way for Maplewood Medical Center. Construction at the 3.2-acre site will include a two-story 26,389-square-foot medical office building.

A blood dialysis firm plans to occupy a section of the building, which is located adjacent to the private entrance road for Maplewood at Newtown, a 100-unit assisted living complex, and Newtown Woods, a 178-unit age-restricted condominium complex currently under construction.

The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approved versions of the office construction project in February 2010 and in July 2009.

A 2.35-acre site at 146 South Main Street has been cleared in preparation for the construction of The Summit at Newtown, a planned two-story 18,750-square-foot retail/medical office building.

In February, the P&Z approved the project, which then had the working name Berkshire Plaza.

Mr Benson said that construction is expected to start this summer.

The P&Z had approved a smaller version of the complex in 2006. An original version of the project was proposed in 2004. The project, however, faced two court challenges before it received a final construction endorsements.

At 30-32 Church Hill Road in the borough, tree and brush clearing has been under way in preparation for construction of The Villages at Lexington Gardens, a multiple-building retail/office complex. The site is where Lexington Gardens, a plant nursery and gift shop, formerly stood. The firm went out of business in 2011.

After final architectural plans are received, the developer is expected to start construction on the project.

In 2012, the Borough Zoning Commission approved the commercial redevelopment project for the 6.3-acre site.

Plans call for adding 60,500 square feet of new commercial space at 32 Church Hill Road in the form of one 28,000-square-foot structure, two segmented 13,000-square-foot buildings, and one 6,500-square-foot structure. Newtown Savings Bank potentially may occupy a planned 6,500-square-foot building near the street at 32 Church Hill Road.

Also, an existing flat-roofed, two-story, red-brick 16,000-square-foot commercial building at 30 Church Hill Road would receive a variety of external improvements to enhance its appearance, making it visually complementary to the planned new construction at 32 Church Hill Road.

At 67 Church Hill Road, demolition is soon planned for a deteriorated structure that formerly held a Shell gas station/convenience store.

That building will be replaced by a planned 3,400-square-foot gas station/convenience store which contains a food service area. The project gained P&Z approval in March.

Town officials have long considered the deteriorated former gas station/convenience store an eyesore and have pursued its demolition considering that its stands near the Exit 10 interchange of Interstate 84, which is considered one of the travel gateways into Newtown.

Also, some major road changes are planned for that area with the realignment of the broadly offset intersection of Church Hill Road, Edmond Road, and Commerce Road.

The state plans to start work on reconfiguring that intersection in 2016. The project will shift the southern end of Edmond Road westward so that it forms a conventional four-way signalized intersection with Commerce Road and Church Hill Road. The project is intended to improve travel safety in the high-accident zone.

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