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Berkeley County plans development near P&G site

Journal photo by Ron Agnir One of several signs, advertising available commerical land along Business Park Drive, is seen in Martinsburg on Tuesday afternoon.
Journal photo by Ron Agnir
One of several signs, advertising available commerical land along Business Park Drive, is seen in Martinsburg on Tuesday afternoon.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Planning Commission approved a sketch plan advancement for an approximate 14-acre commercial development project located on the north side of Business Park Drive, at the intersection of Business Park Drive and Old Tabler Station Road – near the site of the Procter & Gamble facility.

Mike Thompson, Berkeley County planning director, said the plan proposes five lots of land that would include a hotel, a convenience store, two fast food restaurants and one other restaurant.

BTR Capital Group, based out of Towson, Maryland, is leading the proposal, and Thompson said the cost of the potential project is still unknown due to its early stage of the plan.

Thompson said he believes the benefits of Procter & Gamble choosing Martinsburg as the location for its new plant is apparent. He said he believes the location of the facility was the attraction for BTR Capital Group to propose the new development plan for the commercial businesses.

“I don’t know all the rationale behind it but it makes sense because the plant is there. When there is a big plant like that, there are usually people coming there temporarily to work or do something. And if I can recall, near Tabler Station, there are no hotels, no restaurants, or real services near that interchange except for the Sheetz at that intersection. So that is a good reason to develop,” Thompson said.

According to Thompson, the county as well as the community, benefits when more businesses come into the area.

“We get something out of it and we get all the other fringe stuff – maybe not directly from the company – but everybody that is working for them (the businesses) will have to buy fuel, groceries if they are living here and stuff like that. We get all those benefits,” Thompson said.

Development is moving quite rapidly in the county right now, Thompson said.

“When you see the number of lots being proposed it is showing that things are moving pretty fast. And we are thinking we are going to be seeing even more,” Thompson said.

Thompson said Berkeley County is growing at a faster rate than other nearby counties and because of it, the planning commission is meeting once every two weeks in order to keep up.

“Surrounding counties don’t even meet a month at a time to do that. So we have quite a bit of activity going on. We are constantly getting calls from people asking what is available and where can their companies go. And Procter & Gamble is a big portion of that right now,” Thompson said.

Thompson said he believes the main factor for the growth of commercial development is because of Berkeley County’s proximity to the highways.

“A lot of it has to do with where our location is and transportation in and out of here,” Thompson said. “We have easy access to (Interstates) 81 and 70, and for truck traffic that’s where a lot of the distribution stuff came from. For Procter & Gable I know that was a factor because their distribution facility is up in Pennsylvania, so they can drive the trucks up and down (Interstate) 81. So, that’s where a lot of it comes from – transportation needs.”

According to Thompson, an added factor for commercial development in the county is what the workforce looks like, and for commercial and industrial needs the county can provide that.

The next step for BTR Capital Group is to submit an extensive preliminary plan, Thompson said.

“It will be a lot more detailed. It will have to include the construction plan and what not,” Thompson said. He added there is no timeline to submit the updated plan but that he believes it will be submitted soon.

Staff writer Katiann Marshall can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 182 or at www.twitter.com/kmarshallJN.

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