The Hershey of the Future: A Look at Planned and Possible Building Projects for Hershey.

With the coming of the new year, it is times like these where we look upon what has occurred within the past year and what is to come. With several building projects around Hershey planned for 2015 and beyond, I think now is a great time to take a look at these. Just about all of these are planned to occur, but there are one or two that aren’t, but have the potential to be a project that could bring change to Hershey with more light shed on them in the future

Hersheypark: Laff Trakk Indoor Glow-Roller Coaster

Project Start Date: 9/2/14

Possible Completion Date: May 2015

Starting to go up in Hersheypark’s Midway America section is a building that will house Laff Trakk, the park’s 13th roller coaster. The ride will be the first indoor, spinning, glow roller coaster in the United States.

Laff Trakk, December 2014

Laff Trakk, December 2014

The framework for the building looks mostly erected at this point with the ride itself nowhere to be found as of late. Hersheypark hopes to have the ride open sometime in May 2015. The info page for the coaster lists it as having a 42″ (Reese’s) height requirement, max height requirement of 6′ 5″, and a ride rating of 5.

 

Park Boulevard Realignment Project

Project Start Date: 2016

Possible Completion Date: Unknown

Ever since Parkview Golf Course closed in 2005, there have been rumors on Hersheypark possibly being able to expand across Park Boulevard and into the 130-acre former golf course. You can read more about what CoasterBGW posted in his Hersheypark Over the Next Decade article that goes into more detail on its history, but as of late, the project has been funded and construction is scheduled to start as of early 2016.

The submitted plans appear to show a road heading straight from the Hersheypark parking entrance split and crossing a bridge over the creek. A portion of the existing road will stay to serve as an entrance to Chocolate World and will meet at the new road section as an intersection. Other features include a possible northbound entrance to the park’s parking lot, sidewalks, and the possible opening of public traffic to travel from the Ridge Rd. bridge to Park Ave. (Route 743).

It does seem like something has happened with this project as I have started to spot a series of construction/surveying stakes in between Chocolate World’s entrance and the Hersheypark parking lot split. These have recently showed up within the past few weeks so it could mean that it is still on-track. As someone who frequents this road and knows how busy it can get, I am really looking forward to this one as it could possibly improve traffic after the park or a Bears Hockey game lets out.

On a sidenote, the realignment would add around 30 acres to the area next to the park. Nothing has been said about the park expanding this way as of yet and probably won’t be anytime soon.

Downtown Beauty Enhancement Project

Project Start Date: Spring 2016 (for road re-paving) Beautification: Unknown

Possible Completion Date: Unknown

Within the last few years, the center of downtown Hershey went through a large amount of road improvements with re-routing Cocoa Ave, the construction of a new bridge on Park Ave. over the railroad tracks, the re-do of a portion of Chocolate Ave., and the construction of two underpasses. The aftermath has left a decent portion of open space next to the Hershey Theatre and a nice updated stretch of Chocolate Ave that sticks out from the rest of the town, which hasn’t been updated for years.

In early 2014, the Downtown Hershey Association was created to improve the appearance of downtown as well as the quality of life for its residents. After polling many of the town’s residents, a series of conceptual drawings were made to take a look at what people wanted. Many of these features include new plazas, shaded seating areas, decorative sidewalks, art, and much more.

Downtown Hershey Association Facebook Page

In a recent story posted several weeks ago, it seems that Chocolate Ave. will be re-paved and Derry Township is looking into conducting a study to figure out costs and funding for these beauty enhancements.

Hershey Downtown Center

Project Start Date: January 2015

Possible Completion Date: 2016

In early 2013, the Hershey Trust Co. announced that they were going to sell the property that the Hershey Post Office resides on. The ones who bought it, a group known as the 169 Chocolate Group, plan on renovating the building by changing the facade, bringing in several restaurants, retail businesses and offices. So far Appalachian Brewing Company will open a brewpub in the basement of the building, the retail store for the Post Office will be welcome to return, and the developers say that they have nine tenants that may move in.

Photo from ABC27’s Facebook Page

According to an August article, work is expected to begin this month and the renovation could take about a year to do. It is also mentioned that new buildings could be added for more space in a second phase that could begin within the next two years.

Chocolate Factory Site Redevelopment

Project Start Date: Unknown

Possible Completion Date: Unknown

In 2012, the Hershey Company moved its production to its West Hershey plant and vacated much of the building. After trying to find a buyer to re-use the former factory to no avail, the newer section of the building was torn down and much of the former section was renovated into office space for the company. According to the developer for the site, Tim Harrison, he is considering an area mixed of restaurants, retail, and entertainment for the area that was demolished. It was also mentioned that parking structures could be added to get parking under control as well. As of August 2014, there haven’t been anything official on what could happen with the site.

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Near the former factory, the cocoa bean silos that dominate much of the skyline are available for renovation. They were bought in 2012 for $100,000 by a group of four families who want to preserve the silos, seek a developer, and renovate them into condos, a hotel, or some other form of venue.

 

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Chocolate World Construction Update: 5-6-14

With the summer season only days away from beginning, work over at Chocolate World appears to be slowly coming to a close. While the construction walls haven’t all come down yet, work on the other side of them seems to be just about finished.

Poor KitKat Andriod is now resting in the far corner of the Dessert Studio.

Poor KitKat Android is now resting in the far corner of the Dessert Studio.

The Dessert Studio still has the Tour Ride queue running through it, but once you enter the hallway, things change. Wooden floors have been added, the former rainforest area is now a level switchback queue area with brick walls and large windows overlooking the new retail area (that half is still blocked off).

The former fire exit hallway now has some new lighting and wooden flooring.

The former fire exit hallway now has some new lighting and wooden flooring.

Check out the spiffy new queue area! Looking sharp!

Check out the spiffy new queue area! Looking sharp!

Looks like there's not much left to do in the retail area.

Looks like there’s not much left to do in the retail area.

Here's a peek of the new entrance ramp.

Here’s a peek of the new entrance ramp.

The area across the hallway seems to be coming along nicely.

The area across the hallway seems to be coming along nicely.

Should be interesting to see what details will be added.

Should be interesting to see what details will be added.

Out with the old, crappy wooden railings from the 70's and in with the new, clean, metal ones.

Out with the old, crappy wooden railings from the 70’s and in with the new, clean, metal ones.

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A small section of the old mural is still there.

A small section of the old mural is still there.

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Many of the walls have been painted or are currently being painted and the only thing left from the original harbor mural are a few pelicans along a far-back wall.

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Can’t wait to see what details will be added to the queue as it already looks really nice so far.

Thanks for reading!

-Chris

Springtime Hersheypark Update April 4, 2014

Spring is in the air and with almost exactly one week left until opening at Hersheypark, things are starting to come together. Rides are testing, finishing touches are being added and a lot of spring cleaning is going on. Here is a list on the happenings:

-Skyrush’s motor is being pressure-washed and one train is sitting inside the station.

-Much of the construction equipment is starting to leave Tudor Square.

– New directional signage has already gone up and if you didn’t see my post on Facebook earlier this week, Music Box Way and Founder’s Circle will be merged together to create Founder’s Way and Minetown will now be called Kissing Tower Hill with the food venues being called The Overlook Food Court.

-Similar to what Skyrush has, a ride photo camera support has been erected in between Sooperdooperlooper’s first drop and immediately right after Great Bear’s corkscrew. I don’t want to assume anything yet, but I’m guessing that it could either be just for Great Bear or there could be one camera for Great Bear and one for Sooperdooperlooper. Judging from how the brackets look like they are positioned, there’s a good possibility for the latter.

-A small building with a dark greenish-brown roof has gone up just next to Wave Swinger’s exit. Given the number of things going on in The Hollow at the moment, it could be a number of things. Again, not going to assume, but it could be a new game since the older games building was taken out, photo booth for Looper if that camera tower possibility does pan out, or it could be something completely different from those.

-Some testing has been going on around the park. I could hear Dry Gulch’s whistle, saw the Monorail drive past, and Lightning Racer was dueling the other day.

I’ll try to get one more update in before opening day, but we’ll see.

Looking into the future, I am going to be doing a Six Flags Great Adventure trip in a few weeks, so I’ll get a Zoomanjaro construction update while I’m there!

-Chris

Lucky!

Lucky!

New pavement is currently going in along the tram path.

New pavement is currently going in along the tram path.

Tea Cup time?

Tea Cup time?

New directional signage is already up.

New directional signage is already up.

Logo design for Kissing Tower Hill.

Logo design for Kissing Tower Hill.

A camera tower has gone up in between Great Bear and Sooperdooperlooper.

A camera tower has gone up in between Great Bear and Sooperdooperlooper.

Top  camera bracket.

Top camera bracket.

Bottom camera bracket.

Bottom camera bracket.

This little building has gone up recently.

This little building has gone up recently.

Whatever it could be used for, it probably will be very handy to have.

Whatever it could be used for, it probably will be very handy to have.

The Monorail along with several other rides were testing.

The Monorail along with several other rides were testing.

One of Skyrush's trains is currently sitting in the station.

One of Skyrush’s trains is currently sitting in the station.

Done. Registers have already been mostly installed.

Done. Registers have already been mostly installed.

The sponsors list has been moved to a more visible location on the main path to the entrance.

The sponsors list has been moved to a more visible location on the main path to the entrance.

The entrance is starting to look more colorful again.

The entrance is starting to look more colorful again.

The character statues are back out and ready for a new season.

The character statues are back out and ready for a new season.

Looks like it is going to be a great season for the park.

Looks like it is going to be a great season for the park.

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading!

Hershey in the Snow and Chocolate World Construction 2/6/14

Quite a few things popped up over at Chocolate World this past week despite a few snowstorms. Other than Chocolate-Covered February (which runs from now until February 28th), concept artwork has shown up giving us a picture on how everything will look, also it seems that much of the old entrance ramp has been gutted and work seems to be occurring on the other side of the Tour Ride queue behind the shipping containers.

You can check out this update in Vine-form by checking out the link below:

KT Vine Update 2/6/14

Work now seems to be occurring on the entrance side of the Tour Ride entrance ramp.

Work now seems to be occurring to the right side of the queue in the Tour Ride entrance.

DSC00303I never really knew that there was so much space back there!

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Some concept artwork has been put up in the hallway and lobby featuring what the renovations will look like when finished.

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In the background you can see the new entrance for the Chocolate Tour Ride, from what it seems. The theming appears to be something along the lines of a factory setting. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

Speaking of snow, Hershey has been hit with two pretty big snow and ice storms this past week, which made for a perfect opportunity to go out and get a few winter shots from Pat’s Hill (the hill that Hotel Hershey sits on).

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Thanks for reading!

Chocolate World, Chipotle, and Hersheypark Update: 1/31/14

Just as I mentioned on Sunday, the main entrance to Chocolate World’s Tour Ride was indeed closed off and re-routed. Elsewhere in the building, the T-Shirt/ Apparel area where KissWorks used to be has been relocated yet again to the Food Court where the Candy Cottage was. This has given the area between the Bake Shop and lobby  more room for people to walk between the areas. The video version of the Tour Ride was also moved here from its former spot behind the loading area.

The Construction wall within the lobby has been expanded across the Tour Ride entrance.

The Construction wall within the lobby has been expanded across the Tour Ride entrance.

At this point, it really gives you the sense that this is a pretty big undertaking.

At this point, it really gives you the sense that this is a pretty big undertaking.

Some utilitywork has gone up in the hallway.

Some utility-work has gone up in the hallway.

The Apparel area has been relocated to the Food Court.

The Apparel area has been relocated to the Food Court.

More walls have gone up over by the Bake Shop.

More walls have gone up over by the Bake Shop.

To get to the Tour Ride, you currently must go upstairs to the Dessert Studio...

To get to the Tour Ride, you currently must go upstairs to the Dessert Studio…

...wait in this switchback queue area (if there is a line).

…and wait in this switch-back queue area (if there is a line).

While waiting, you can take a look at the Create-Your-Own Candy Bar attraction.

While waiting, you can take a look at the Create-Your-Own Candy Bar attraction.

For those wondering what the Dessert Studio is, here is the menu for it. Ofcourse since the area is being used for something else, it isn't open right now.

For those wondering what the Dessert Studio is, here is the menu for it. Of course since the area is being used for something else, it isn’t open right now.

Next, you make a right through that door, enter a bland hallway, make a left, then re-connect with the former queue line.

Next, you make a right through that door, enter a bland hallway, make a left, then re-connect with the former queue line.

Looks like work on removing the former entrance is progressing.

Looks like work on removing the former entrance is progressing.

Upon exiting, you can view your ride photo on that tiny iPad (the area across from the Bake Shop is where you can buy them).

Upon exiting, you can view your ride photo on that tiny iPad (the area across from the Bake Shop is where you can buy them).

To exit, you just go back into that hallway, go down the stairs (don't forget you free sample!), make a right and exit next to the Bake Shop.

To exit, you just go back into that hallway, go down the stairs (don’t forget you free sample!), make a right and exit next to the Bake Shop.

If you don't feel like riding, don't worry. There's always Bench: The Ride!

If you don’t feel like riding, don’t worry. There’s always Bench: The Ride!

Over at Hersheypark, work still continues on the now confirmed Ticketing Services building going up in Tram Circle. Nothing really new to report about it, but as for the games building in The Hollow, it looks like workers are in the process of removing the roof and much of the side of the structure. Elsewhere in the park, a large crane is present by Great Bear, but that’s it.

Nothing really new happening with the ticketing building.

Nothing really new happening with the ticketing building.

Looks like some off-season rehab work.

Looks like some off-season rehab work.

Removal of the old games building looks to be half-done.

Removal of the old games building looks to be half-done.

Finally, it looks like work seems to be progressing to an end with the Chipotle Restaurant in town. There was quite a bit of talk about people saying that it would ruin the atmosphere of the town, but honestly, it looks just about the same as the Rite Aid a block down the street.

Chipotle is nearly finished. Shouldn't be too long until it is open.

Chipotle is nearly finished. Shouldn’t be too long until it is open.

Thanks for reading!

-Chris

Update: A Sunday Afternoon at Chocolate World

Since my family was in-town this weekend, we went over to Hershey’s Chocolate World to do a candy (and frozen cocoa) run. While there, I found out that the entrance for the Tour Ride will be re-routed starting Monday and that the Jolly Rancher product character got a makeover to look like the one in the 4D show. One special event that was going on besides Fitness Month is that a photo booth was set up in the Food Court that was supposedly used in a recent television commercial for Kit Kat.

Construction down at Hersheypark’s Tram Circle is the same as last week, so there really isn’t anything new to report there.

I expect that the next update will show the Tour Ride entrance completely walled off and re-routed. As sad as it is to see it go, it should be interesting to see what the renovation has in-store for this classic attraction.

They had the KitKat Android set up next to the photo booth in the Food Court.

They had the Kit Kat Android set up next to the photo booth in the Food Court.

It proved to be pretty popular with people as it would just about always have a few people looking at it and taking a photo of themselves inside of it.

It proved to be pretty popular with people as it would just about always have a few people looking at it and taking a photo of themselves inside of it.

If you thought that there was a camera inside, you are mistaken. Nothing but a wooden bench! Pretty effective marketing tactic if you ask me!

If you thought that there was a camera inside, you are mistaken. Nothing but a wooden bench. Given that it was a prop, it makes sense. Pretty effective marketing tactic if you ask me!

This view should be different pretty soon.

This view should be different pretty soon.

Nothing new to see here, moving on...

Nothing new to see here, moving on…

Thanks for reading!

-Chris