Space is becoming a premium in Cherry Hill as applications for new development keep pouring in.
"The entire township is hot," said Paul Stridick, township director of community development. "We are trying to accommodate them all."
Kennedy Health plans to break ground on a $50 million medical office building this month, and several pockets are under township review as potential "areas in need of redevelopment," which could lead to more businesses moving in.
Stridick said he was running out of room along Haddonfield Road, one of the most sought-after addresses.
"It's very hot to be along Haddonfield Road right now," Stridick said. "Everyone wants to be in the area of Route 38 and Cherry Hill Mall. I am running out of room along that stretch. We have gotten so many applications."
Developers cite Cherry Hill's road system, with good access to highways 295, 70, and 38, and demographics - a population with disposable income.
"Cherry Hill is really developer-friendly, and it has really good, competent people working for the township," said developer Henry Gorenstein of Lazgor (named for partners Peter Lazaropoulos and Gorenstein), a Cherry Hill real estate development company. "They are into problem-solving."
Lazgor has done several projects in Cherry Hill over the last few years, including a Super Wawa, Santander Bank, and Cooper Urgent Care - all on Route 70. The company broke ground a week ago on Route 38 for a project at Church Road circle that involves a new McDonald's and 20,000 square feet of additional retail stores.
"There's still definitely potential," Gorenstein, who has lived in Cherry Hill since 1970, said. "There are problematic areas in Cherry Hill that the town would love to see redeveloped. It's smart, very prudent to try and turn things around before you can't turn them around."
He added: "Good ratables do offset the tax burden on residences."
Kennedy Health's Phase 1 project will break ground on April 30 for a 100,000-square-foot medical office with a lobby and atrium and a 700-car parking garage at 2201 Chapel Ave. The building will also have new landscaping and gardens. Completion is expected to take about 17 months.
Phase 2, which calls for a new patients' tower with private rooms, will come at a later date, "shooting for 2016," said Joe Devine, president and chief executive officer of Kennedy Health.
"Cherry Hill has always been a vital part of Kennedy Health," Devine said last week. "We want to continue to provide a high level of service to our community."
Kennedy Health acquired the hospitals in Cherry Hill and Washington Township in 1980.
"We are making a substantial investment in the Cherry Hill community over the next four or five years," Devine said. "We are building a whole new medical complex through phases, a market changer."
He said the Cherry Hill hospital's location was perfect.
"We are less than a mile from Routes 70 and 38, Kings Highway, and Haddonfield Road," Devine said. "We fit in nicely with the Cherry Hill decor with what's happening with Cherry Hill Mall and the racetrack."
The township Planning Board is reviewing two areas as possibly ripe for redevelopment.
One is where America's Best Value Inn sits on 2389 Marlton Pike West, about a half-block from the Cooper River.
The Planning Board will meet Monday night to discuss the site. It can make recommendations to the Township Council whether to declare it an area in need of redevelopment.
Another site under review is 650 Hampton Rd. - a 200,000-square-foot building that used to house the publsiher W.B. Saunders Co.
Stridick said he had received applications to convert the former Sims department store on the east side of Route 70, and to redo the back entrance driveway to make it attractive for the next user. The 150,000-square-foot building is being considered for medical use.
Another site, the old Lockheed Martin building next to the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Route 70 along the Cooper River, is also being considered for medical use. The building contains 85,000 square feet.
"I think it's a real transformative way to use old office buildings and older box stores, like Sims," Stridick said. "Health care is really hot right now."
Also under review is an application for the next Oscar Huber retail site at the old Floor USA rug and flooring store on Route 70.
"We are getting a lot of activity on large and small projects up and down Haddonfield Road," Stridick said. "There are smaller projects along Haddonfield Road, including old strip centers that are getting new applications not just to renovate them, but to clear them and get new fresh product with new buildings, parking, and lighting.
"These projects bring in new jobs, new uses, and enhance curb appeal," he said. "It even increases ratables because we take a building that's not being used and transform it into a higher and better use."
Jay Several of Gladwyne, who has done several projects in the township over the last nine years through his Cherry Hill company, Several Properties Group L.L.C., said: "It seems I can't leave the area. It's too good."
Among his many projects are a Wawa at 50 Haddonfield Rd., Advance Auto Parts at 54 Haddonfield Rd., and Smashburger at 56 Haddonfield Rd.
"Cherry Hill is the prime target after King of Prussia," he said. "It's next in line even before Philadelphia, according to retailers we talk to and the brokers who bring them in."
Several said he was looking at other sites on Haddonfield Road, including two office buildings to convert to retail and a casual-dining restaurant. There was also a site on Route 70, he said, where he wants to add free-standing retail.
"My goal is to redo obsolete properties and create employment opportunities for the community," he said.