Plans submitted for former Harner farmland

A portion of the former Harner Farm land in Ferguson Township is being redeveloped for commercial use. Photo of Geoff Rushton |

A shopping center with three storefronts is in preparation for a parcel of the former Harner Farm land on West College Avenue.

The Township of Ferguson Planning Department is currently reviewing the preliminary land development plan for the aptly named development of Orchard Square, which is expected to be built on the land adjacent to an upcoming Sheetz store at the southwest corner of West College Avenue and Whitehall Road. Sheetz is expected to open there this fall.

Plans for the one-story, 19,854-square-foot building were submitted by PennTerra engineering on behalf of owner Aspen Whitehall Partners on August 11.

These plans show three commercial spaces of 10,722 square feet, 6,483 square feet and 2,566 square feet on the 3,689 acre parcel. The plans also include 119 parking spaces located on three sides of the building.

The site is part of 71.9 acres of former Harner Farm property which was rezoned for commercial and residential use in 2018 following a request from the Harner family and developer Aspen Whitehall Partners.

The property, which is surrounded by commercial and residential developments, is within the boundaries of regional growth and since 2000 has been designated as mixed use in the Comprehensive Regional Plan land use map.

Aspen Whitehall completed the purchase of the 71.9 acres in November 2018 for $5.6 million.

The developer intends to have a mix of single and multi-family residential, retail and office space, although official plans for most of the property – which includes more than 27 acres of commercial land and 44 of residential – have not yet been submitted.

The Harners retain the remaining 33 acres of farmland owned by their family since 1945 for the reduced production of fruits and agricultural products and their farm store.

This story appears in the September 2-8 edition of the Center County Gazette

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