Press Room

Ground Broken for Development in Cumru

By Tony Lucia, Reading Eagle

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Lee Beaudoin of the Reading Hospital Medical Group; Jim Miller, president of Miller Bros Construction; and Tod Auman of TedCar Properties at the groundbreaking Friday for the Gateway at Grings Hill, Cumru Township.

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A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday for a new commercial complex taking shape on 75 acres along Route 222 in Cumru Township.

The Gateway at Grings Hill at the Mohnton exit of 222 will include a 21,000-square-foot medical center to be occupied by Reading Hospital Medical Group and a 100-room hotel.

Tod Auman, president of TedCar Properties, which is developing the project, said the medical center should be occupied by June and the hotel by the end of next year or 2012. The developer is in negotiations with hotel chains but does not have a name attached to that part of the project yet.

"We've had a lot of offers, but we're trying to make sure we have a brand equal in stature to Reading Hospital," Auman said.

Ultimately, about 300,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, anchored by a major grocery chain, will occupy the site, and about 700 jobs will be created, he said.

Auman, who has been working on the project since 2003, credited Cumru Township and other elected officials with their cooperation.

He said that since the 222 project was completed, Cumru lost many businesses that had been along the road, due to its limited access. The Grings Hill project, he said, will help it to recoup some of that lost tax base.

"It's been a collaborative effort going back to 2003," he said.

Auman, the son of Carolyn Auman and the late Theo C. Auman III, acknowledged that the recession came as a bit of a surprise during the development stages.

"We had a lot of challenges here," he said. "The one leg of the interchange that (the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) created was not completed; we had to get a break in the limited access to make that happen.

"Another challenge was that we made a commitment to Reading Hospital Medical Groupthat it would be in by June 2011, and worked backward from there. As for the financial crisis, there always are challenges."

But Auman said he never lost sight of his vision.

"It just made sense that something would be at that location," he said. "I had a dream that something would be there. I just continued to push on."

Miller Brothers Construction Inc. Schuylkill Haven, is the general contractor.

Contact Tony Lucia: 610-371-5046 or tlucia@readingeagle.com.