Long-Struggling Hamilton Shopping Center Set to Revitalize with Walmart as Anchor
It was just over one year ago when a Pennsylvania-based realty company announced that it was set to purchase and redevelop Suburban Plaza, a Hamilton Township shopping center that has struggled with high vacancy rates over the past decade.
But now, Abrams Realty and Development LLC of Elkins Park, Pa has submitted plans to transform the center into “The Court at Hamilton”, which will be anchored by a nearly 160,000 sq. ft. Walmart, housed in a brand-new building, as well as plans for reinvigorating 38,000 sq. ft. of remaining retail space.
“This is the first major development in a series of growth that is expected as the new designated Arts and Cultural District comes to fruition,” says Hamilton Township Mayor John Bencivengo.
As part of the plans to revitalize the center, 197,363 sq. ft. of the existing building and the 2,887 sq. ft. Payless Shoe Store will be demolished so that a new 159,182 sq. ft. Walmart, which will include a Pharmacy “Drive-Thru”, can be built.
Additionally, 38,325 sq. ft. of the current shopping center building will remain, but undergo extensive exterior façade improvements. Some existing tenants, such as Burger King, will remain in the transformed retail center. And with Walmart as its anchor, the realty company is optimistic that “The Court at Hamilton” will become a magnet for other retailers and a vibrant, fully-occupied shopping center.
Over the course of a year, representatives of Abrams Realty have held several meetings with township officials to help bring the revitalization project to fruition. “Mayor Bencivengo and Hamilton’s entire economic development and land use team has been fully engaged, cooperative and helpful as we moved forward with plans for ‘The Court at Hamilton’,” says Abrams Realty and Development, LLC. President and owner, Peter Abrams. “With our plans now submitted, we are hopeful to have our application before the Planning Board next month so that the community can enjoy all that ‘The Court at Hamilton’ will offer in the near future.”
The revitalization project should create an estimated 350 ongoing jobs, in addition to construction jobs related to the demolition and building of the new Walmart. The project is also expected to translate into additional commercial ratable, which could reach $689,775 annually, split amongst the separate municipal, county, local fire district and school district governments (from currently $172,662).
“Because of the significance of this long-struggling retail center, as well as the economic benefits that its revitalization will bring for our community and taxpayers, this project is a top priority for our administration,” explains Hamilton Township Mayor John Bencivengo. “This exciting project shows that economic opportunities continue to expand in Hamilton Township, and means jobs for our community’s working families. I believe it shows our administration’s long-standing and continuing commitment towards revitalizing commercial properties and expanding economic opportunities all across our community.”
Hamilton Director of Economic Development Michael Angarone agrees. “This is the first of what we believe will be several, exciting economic development announcements that will be made this summer. Our economic development and revitalization efforts have targeted long-vacant or underutilized properties; and we are beginning to see positive results, such as with ‘The Court at Hamilton’, after months, and in some cases, even years of hard-work and focus.”