The Broadcaster

Downtown Hershey Chocolate Avenue Stores Opening Soon

Angelina Memmi and Carina Sarracino

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After years of their designing and revisions, the companies working on the Chocolate Avenue stores are planning to open the businesses soon.

RVG Management and Development, a company focusing on retail construction, bought the undeveloped Chocolate Avenue property in October 2016 according to an article on PennLive. RVG, based in the small town of Wormleysburg, PA, paid $3.8 million for the space.

A Lancaster, PA design company, TONO Architects, collaborated with RVG to create the Chocolate Avenue Stores. In February of 2017, TONO announced a press release  to build a multi-level parking lot with about 400 parking spaces and a 12,500 square ft. building housing several retail shops.

RVG Management and Development Company and TONO Architects spent almost three years turning a large, empty section of Chocolate Avenue into an innovative space filled with retail and amenities.

Plans also included a renovation of the original Hershey Post Office building and constructing a new three-story building of 21,000 sq. ft. housing various businesses and apartments. However, these original plans, including TONO’s project of adding an Appalachian Brewing Company to Chocolate Avenue, fell through.

In March of 2018, RVG needed a revision to the plans. According to an article on DownTown Hershey, the parking lot now will include 144 fewer spaces, and the plan for the three-story building for businesses and apartments has been cancelled. There are now 13 stores expected to open over time, including:

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

Pittsburgh-based Primanti Bros

Jersey Mike’s Subs shop.

Iron Valley Real Estate

GreatClips

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Starbucks

T-Mobile

Happy Nails & Spa

Three Little Birds Boutique

Beef Jerky Outlet

the U.S. Post Office

Freshido

Ed Fetter, the Senior Vice President of Real Estate for RVG, explained to ABC27 that they couldn’t afford to go through with their original plans. RVG had most of the money available to complete their entire vision, but needed tax increment financing (TIF). Derry Township School Board members voted against the TIF due to the large expense of putting in the parking lot.

This revision set back the stores’ expected openings for early summer 2018, but removed about 12 million dollars from RVG’s original budget of 28 million.

Fetter said, “We wanted to do it. We wanted the project to be as grand as possible. It’s downtown Hershey.” But, the new businesses and outdoor plaza areas will greatly change how Chocolate Avenue looks.

The Chocolate Avenue stores are expected to open in early fall of this year.    

Anyone driving on Chocolate Avenue have see this view of several new storefronts. These businesses, and a large parking lot behind them, will be open for every Hershey resident and tourist to enjoy. (Broadcaster/Angelina Memmi)

The Pittsburgh-based Primanti Brothers restaurant has another home on Chocolate Avenue. This anticipated restaurant is just one of the many well-known businesses opening up. (Broadcaster/Angelina Memmi)

The empty space beside the Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurant will be one of many grassy plazas on Chocolate Avenue. Ed Fetter said that, “This is where people can hang out and get a cup of coffee and sit down and enjoy the outdoors and enjoy the downtown.” (Broadcaster/Angelina Memmi)

 

About the Writer
Carina Sarracino, Reporter

Carina Sarracino is a reporter for the Broadcaster.  She is a junior at Hershey High School and a second year member of the Broadcaster staff. Carina...

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Downtown Hershey Chocolate Avenue Stores Opening Soon