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Developers: Exeter Commons work ahead of schedule

THE MERCURY, May 16, 2009

Work on a shopping center that will include Target, Giant and Lowe’s stores on the site of the former Dutch Colony hotel is ahead of schedule by two and a half weeks, according to a spokeswoman for the developers.

Some of the stores in the Exeter Commons shopping center are slated to open in July, and others a month later, per a news release from Exeter JV Associates. The partnership, which formed in 2008 to redevelop the 50-acre site includes developers The Goldenberg Group and Ironwood Property Group.

The 490,000-square-foot retail center, which developers say will be the largest of its kind in the township, is located on Route 422 at the intersection of Business Route 422 and 47th Street.

Two of the center’s anchor stores, The 132,000-square-foot Target store and the 81,000-square-foot Giant Food store, are scheduled to open in late July, with the grand opening of the 171,000-square-foot Lowe’s to follow in August 2009, per the release.

“Exeter Commons has been a high-development priority for Exeter Township for more than 10 years,” said Kevin Trapper, senior vice president of Blue Bell based The Goldenberg Group. “A number of national developers were thwarted by seemingly insurmountable technical and traffic obstacles. All of us at The Goldenberg Group and Ironwood are proud of our ability to overcome those challenges. We’re moving in major tenants now, and we look forward to completing this vibrant retail center in 2009.”

Exeter Commons will also include a SONIC Drive-In, Wells Fargo/Wachovia bank, Red Robin restaurant, Chick-Fil-A and Affinity Bank.

“Exeter Commons is a strategic site that promises to be one of the premier shopping centers in Berks County,” said Jeremy Fogel, principal of Conshohocken based Ironwood. “We’re excited about bringing these great retailers to the area, and offering them the opportunity to continue to expand their customer base and make their selection, value and customer service as convenient to customers as possible.”

According to Mark Scott, chairman of the Berks County Board of Commissioners, the project came to fruition through a cooperative coalition built by the Goldenberg Group and Ironwood Property Group with tenants and stakeholders, who worked with township officials, the Berks County Conservation District, PennDOT, the community and members of the public.

“The joint venture worked effectively with the township, county and state officials to gain consensus on the project, obtain permits and approvals, and secure significant public funding to allow the project to come to fruition,” said Scott said.