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MALVERN, PA-Wegmans Food Markets Inc. has signed an agreement with O’Neill Properties Group for a 140,000-sf anchor store at Worthington Town Center, a master-planned, 1.9-million-sf mixed-use community. The Rochester-based privately held supermarket chain is picky, opening just two to three new units a year, and this will be its largest to date.

Significantly larger than traditional supermarkets, Wegmans’ units typically include cafes, specialty shops and host cooking classes. “We’re very fortunate to be able to add the strength and consumer conviction of Wegmans to Worthington,” says Brian O’Neill, chairman and founder of the King of Prussia-based company that is developing the town center on the 97-acre former Worthington Steel plant site.

Borders and a 3,200-seat Worthington Theater, operated by Movie Co., have also signed up. O’Neill says the 745,000-sf retail component of the community will contain more than 60 stores and 15 restaurants. There will also be 753 multi-family residential units and 185,000 sf of class A office space. The center is expected to open in early 2009, and, as GlobeSt.com previously reported, the overall estimated construction cost nears $500 million.

“The Worthington site meets all of Wegmans’ new site criteria, including great regional access,” says Ralph Uttaro, SVP of real estate development for the 71-unit chain, in a statement. “We look forward to being a part of this project.” Wegmans has units in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania and, over the past year alone, it received 4,896 requests to open in communities nationwide.

The King of Prussia office of the Coronado, CA-based McGarey Group represented O’Neill in the Wegmans transaction. Denver McGarey, president, says the commitment confirms the strength of the Worthington market. Terms of the deal are undisclosed.

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