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oup wants land rezoned before purchasing property

Tribune-Review
| Monday, July 30, 2001 12:00 a.m

Developers of a shopping center along Route 50 in Collier Township are trying to attract retailers to their site, despite the fact the site isn’t theirs yet.

Praxis Resources, an Annapolis, Md.-based developer, plans to build Collier Town Square on a 16-acre lot at Thoms Run Road and Route 50. The proposed shopping center would feature a hotel.

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Collier Town Square (1338K)
Collier Town Square would be the first commercial development on the old Woodville State Hospital proper ty. Praxis Resources, an Annapolis, Md.-based developer, is looking to purchase about 15 acres of land for the development.

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But the group has yet to purchase the land from the current owners, Woodville Associates.

Mark Mineo, president of Praxis, said they won’t purchase the land until the property is zoned to allow for the development.

And the land won’t be rezoned until Collier Township receives 50 acres of land for a park as required by the land’s original sales agreement.

‘It’s sort of a convoluted story,’ township Manager Gary Williard said.

Williard said when the Woodville Associates purchased the old Woodville State Hospital property from the state, it was required to sell Collier 50 acres of land suitable for a park.

Years of negotiations between the township and the group ensued, Williard said. ‘Every time we think we have it settled, it’s not,’ he said.

Now the township is involved in a lawsuit to get the 50 acres, Williard said, and they are in the process of settling the suit out of court.

‘That’s what has been holding this up,’ Williard said. ‘Both sides have been negotiating where the location of the park would be. If the court rules that this is an acceptable agreement, this is going to happen.’

Williard said part of the deal would call for the rezoning of much of the Woodville property, including the 15 acres Praxis is interested in, in exchange for the 50-acre park land.

Once the rezoning goes through, Praxis would purchase the land for development, Mineo said, and construction could begin as early as December.

Plans call for an 85-room all-suite hotel, two retail areas, a family style restaurant and a bank.

The development would be constructed in a contemporary Colonial style, Mineo said, partially due to the site’s proximity to the Neville House.

Mineo said that Springhill Suites and Starbucks have already expressed an interest in operating at the retail center.

‘It’s a good site,’ Mineo said. ‘People are responding.’

Mineo said the attraction of the site is both the demographics and the possibility of additional development on more of the hospital property, including the area where Trader Jack’s is located.

Mineo said talk of a Wal-Mart coming to Raceway Plaza adjacent to Collier Town Square would add to his center’s customer base.

Williard said the deal between the Woodville Associates, which would allow Praxis to commence, is imminent.

‘The documents were prepared by the board of commissioners and (Woodville Associates) submitted documents through their attorneys to the courts. It’s looking like it’s a done deal,’ he said. ‘The ball is in the courts.’

Maggi Newhouse can be reached at mnewhouse@tribweb.com or (412) 306-4535.

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