The Hershey Company has been given the green light to demolish part of the old chocolate factory.
Monday night, Hershey Company officials made their case before the Derry Township Design and Review Board. It was a packed house as residents came out to offer their thoughts. Some spoke in favor of preserving the old factory. Others supported a change.
"I think the plans that have been revealed...are really good," one man said.
"We care about this very central part of our local culture, of our history of Mr. Hershey's legacy, which we should try and uphold," argued another man.
The part of the factory that will stay includes newly renovated office space in one of the oldest buildings. Other parts of the two oldest buildings will be re-done in a similar fashion to accommodate 1,100 employees.
Hershey officials said the landmark smokestacks and hedges will also remain.
The old factory isn't used for production anymore, since the new chocolate factory was built.
The entire east end of the factory could be torn down. In fact, previously approved demolition has already begun.
Hershey officials said they spent the last three years studying different options that would re-purpose additional parts of the old factory, but they concluded that because of the building's architecture, the space cannot be reused.
"It's sad...there's no question that it's sad, but necessary," said Jeff Edleman, Hershey Company Real Estate Department. "Five years from now we'll be very happy...and we're able to truly redevelop the downtown," he said.