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Court declines to block convenience store

Efforts to build a Sheetz convenience store on commercial real estate at the intersection of Pennsylvania state Routes 144 and 45 moved forward after a Superior Court ruling declined to block it construction. The court upheld a prior ruling by the Court of Common Pleas that rejected efforts to bar the sale of the property for use by the store. The property is currently owned by real estate developer Bob Poole jointly with the Old Fort Road Limited Partnership.

The lawsuit seeking to block the sale of construction of the new store had been filed by the operators of an existing convenience store near the proposed site, J.J. Powell, Inc. The plaintiff claimed that a lease of the property to Sheetz would contravene a provision in its own lease with the owners of all corners at the intersection, the Smith-Fletcher Home Association.

While the transaction involved Sheetz buying what was characterized as a retail condominium from the developer, the plaintiff argued that it substantively amounted to the same thing as a lease. The developer had previously purchased one 3.6 acre parcel on one of the four corners from the Home Association, and had then divided it, with one of the divisions being a commercial unit on which the convenience store was to be built. Two other commercial units were also created.

The ruling by the court stated that while a lease to a competing store was indeed barred, a sale was a different matter altogether. Disputes of this nature about the permissible uses of commercial real estate and the interpretation of leasing with restrictive covenants require advice and representation from an experienced real estate attorney.

Source:  Centredaily.com, "Pa. Superior Court refuses to block proposed Old Fort Sheetz" Chris Rosenblum, May. 11, 2013

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