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WARRINGTON, PA-Valley Square, a 140-acre mixed-use development at the intersection of Routes 611 and 132 in Bucks County, breaks ground this week. It is Philadelphia-based Metro Development Co.’s largest project to date. The construction cost is estimated at $125 million.

The opening phase of the project is 500,000 sf of retail that includes a 130,000-sf Wegman’s Super Store and a “Main Street” lifestyle format of upscale individual stores with adjacent parking and numerous theme restaurants. In describing how Valley Square differs from traditional shopping centers, David Grasso, Metro’s president, cites its buffer of trees, separate road access, landscaped sidewalks and varied building heights. Michael Grasso, chairman, compares it to the shopping areas for most US towns in the early 1950s, which provided easy walking to stores and restaurants.

The retail sector of the development is 60% preleased, according to Gregory Bianchi, VP of US Realty Associates, Metro’s leasing arm, which is handling day-to-day management of the development as well as leasing. He says he expects all retail components to be fully leased by the end of this quarter. “Lifestyle retailers are responding enthusiastically to this well-designed project,” he says, adding that this market is currently “underserved for high-end shopping.” Among the tenants for the traditional retail phase, scheduled to open in September 2005, are Circuit City, Staples, Micheal’s Crafts, and Sports Authority. Wegman’s and the remaining lifestyle office and residential phase are set to open in June 2006.

Village Square is located on the largest undeveloped, commercially zoned land parcel in central Bucks County, which is among the most affluent in the 11-county greater Philadelphia area. The remaining portions of the project contain 110,000 sf of office space and more than 200 residential condos for people age 55 and older. The office space is in boutique structures, leased primarily to doctors, dentists, lawyers and other professionals and businesses, according to Bianchi.

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