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Commerce Avenue hotel plans

There are two plans to build hotels and restaurants off Allen Road near the Interstate 81 interchange in South Middleton Township. One is planned at a vacant building, pictured at the bottom right corner, and the other is in the parcel of land nearly directly across the street. The former Brenneman's Furniture, in the top right, is the proposed site of the restaurant in the new commercial plans.

With plans for a hotel and fast-food restaurant ongoing at the intersection of Commerce Avenue and Allen Road in South Middleton Township, township supervisors Thursday night will hear about a similar development that would be located nearly across the street.

South Middleton Township Supervisor Tom Faley said supervisors at their Thursday night meeting will talk about a sketch plan from Nittany Engineering & Associates on behalf of Glenmark Holding LLC and Paradigm Architecture, which calls for a restaurant, hotel and regional commercial center to be built between Alexander Spring Road and the I-81 interchange at Allen Road.

The proposed plan is almost directly across the street from a plan that was introduced to township supervisors in summer 2018. Akash Patel & Associates had its conditional use application approved in July 2018 for a plan to build an 82-room hotel and a separate, 3,300-square-foot fast-food restaurant with a drive-thru near the intersection of Commerce Avenue and Allen Road.

Faley said he hasn’t heard much regarding the 2018 plan since the conditional use application was approved, but he’s interested in seeing both plans move forward.

“It’s a mystery to me” that both lots should remain vacant for so long, he said, noting that the township had only received one plan in the last decade for a similar development, which ended up falling through at the location where Goodman Birtcher would build its warehouse. “I think it would be an ideal location for a restaurant and hotel with it being right off I-81.”

The developer of the new site will also have to get a conditional use approval since commercial centers are required to do so in the I3 industrial/transportation zone where the development would be located.

The developer has submitted a conditional use application to the planning commission, which gave suggestions about the plan this month. The developer is expected to return to the planning board in May, after first addressing the township supervisors Thursday.

Restaurant plans

The sketch plans call for a restaurant to be located where the former Brenneman’s Furniture stands off Allen Road. The restaurant would have 120 seats, an estimated 11 employees on the largest shift and 41 parking spaces.

The plans also call for a 1.9875-acre regional commercial center that will sit in the middle of the three-lot development and could feature two drive-thrus for businesses, as well as a 2.4577-acre hotel that will have 106 rooms, an estimated 20 employees on the two largest shifts and 134 parking spaces.

The sketch plans call for a right-turn only access point off Allen Road near Commerce Avenue to get to the restaurant and access from Dennison Circle off of Alexander Spring Road closest to the planned regional commercial center.

Township supervisors will hear more about the plan at their meeting on Thursday.

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Email Naomi Creason at ncreason@cumberlink.com or follow her on Twitter @SentinelCreason

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