Centro Properties

Community Matters – in and around Tredyffrin

Community Matters . . . in and around Tredyffrin

In one of the biggest property deals since the start of the global financial crisis, the Australian company Centro Properties Groups has agreed to sell its 588 US shopping malls to private equity giant Blackstone Group for $9.4 billion.

The local connection – Centro owns Chesterbrook Shopping Center and Valley Fair Shopping Center! I assume the existing retail leases in these shopping centers will pass with the transfer of sale.  Many folks are looking forward to McKenzies Brew House restaurant plans for the old Charlie Brown location at Valley Fair Shopping Center.  Here’s hoping that Blackstone will breathe new life into Chesterbrook Shopping Center and find a tenant for the empty Genuardi’s grocery store.  And let’s not forget that this corporate sale could mean significant transfer tax revenue to the school district and the township!

In case you missed this one . . . in order to make shelf room for new products, the Pennsylvania State liquor stores is having special discount sale, starting today.  Approximately 400 items have been marked down to clearance prices until they are gone.

Last night was the Board of Supervisors Meeting. Notes of the evening included Mike Heaberg’s swearing in as new supervisor by Judge Jeremy Blackburn; recognition of the 300th anniversary of the historic Baptist Church in the Great Valley and certificates of appreciation for volunteer service to Grace Keffer, Bob Haver and Molly Duffy.

By Board of Supervisors appointment, a Sidewalk Subcommittee was formed in March 2010 to look at resident’s wants and needs of sidewalks in the community.  The process included public meetings, resident sidewalk survey, observations and discussion and Sidewalks Subcommittee chair Tory Snyder presented the findings and recommendations last night at the Board of Supervisors Meeting. (Here is a link to the recommendations). Surprising some of us in the audience, supervisor Phil Donahue made a motion for the board to accept the Sidewalk Subcommittee recommendations and move it to the Planning Commission to create a draft ordinance.  Michelle Kichline seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. Hat’s off to the supervisors for this progressive, proactive show of support for the community!   (As an aside, the Sidewalk Subcommittee Green Routes Network recommendation includes St. Davids Golf Club sidewalk in the plan.)

In addition to crafting a draft ordinance in regards to the Sidewalk Subcommittee recommendations, the Planning Commissioners is drafting an amendment to the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance to give the Board of Supervisors final land development authority.  Although there is a Public Hearing on land development authority scheduled for March 21, it was agreed there would be no final decision on that matter until after the sidewalk ordinance is resolved.

I was notified of a an updated ‘Best High School in Pennsylvania’ list and am pleased to report that Conestoga High School continues to receive high marks.  Each year, “Newsweek” magazine ranks the nation’s top 1,600 high schools–that’s only six percent of all public high schools in the country. This ranking helps parents and educators set standards for themselves. In 2010, 33 high schools from Pennsylvania, including Conestoga High School, made the list. These schools received high marks from both “Newsweek” and “U.S. News & World Report.”

According to the eHow.com 2011 update, “Conestoga High School is ranked as the No. 502 high school in the nation by “Newsweek” and as No. 79 by “U.S. News & World Report.” It offers more Advanced Placement courses than any other high school, public or private, in Pennsylvania, and had 37 National Merit semifinalists in 2010. . . “   Congratulations Conestoga High School and Tredyffrin-Easttown School District!

Speaking of Conestoga High School . . . the curtains go up tonight on the student production of Phantom of the Opera.  The show will run March 1 – 6, click here for ticket information. Phantom is one of my all-time favorite musicals –  best wishes to the cast & break a leg!

That is it for now.  I look forward to your thoughtful comments and please email me at tredyffrincommunitymatters@gmail.com if you have news or thoughts to share.

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Be Careful What You Wish For . . . Bottom Dollar Food Coming to Chesterbrook

Back on July 30, I wrote the following article about the Bottom Dollar Food grocery store chain coming to the Philadelphia area and opening a store in King of Prussia.  In the article, Discount Grocery Store ‘Bottom Dollar Food’ Coming to Philadelphia Area. I commented on the differences between the newly opened Wegmans vs the ‘no-frills’ discount grocery chain, Bottom Dollar. 

Wegmans opening this summer, fell on the heels of the closing of Genuardi’s in Chesterbrook.  There are other empty stores in the Chesterbrook Shopping Center and those that have remained since Genuardi’s closing have struggled.  I heard that since the closing of Genuardi’s that the Hair Cuttery is loosing an average of $600/wk in revenue.  The emptiness is particularly noticeable at lunchtime. Many in the community have speculated and wondered as to the future of the real estate.

We don’t have to speculate any longer.  Today, I received news that Bottom Dollar Food has signed a 5-year lease with Centro Properties and will open in the old Genuardi’s location. (Not sure of the opening date).  When reviewing the location plans for Chesterbrook’s Bottom Dollar, I noted they will subdivide the Genuardi’s space.  Originally, Genuardi’s had approx. 38,500 sq. ft. of space but Bottom Dollar is only leasing 26,000 sq. ft leaving a space of 12,500 sq. ft. (next to Fitness Together) still available.  The original entry of Genuardi’s is now in the ‘available space’, suggesting that Bottom Dollar will move their entry location.

In the last paragraph of my July 30th post, I asked the question, ” . . .  would people rather see an empty anchor store in the Chesterbrook Shopping Center as opposed to some kind of discount store?”   And here we are 3 months later, with Bottom Dollar discount food chain coming to Chesterbrook!

In catching up on some of the local business news, I was reading about the local grocery market and was interested to read about a new grocery chain coming to the area, Bottom Dollar Food.

We know that Wegmans next step on their expansion plan is King of Prussia (I think the old golf course off Swedesford, correct?) so I was curious if our area would be getting one of these discount grocery stores.  Bottom Dollar Food is a discount grocer that’s part of the Food Lion store chain and has said that it will open 21 stores in Philadelphia and surrounding areas, creating 600 jobs.  A friend recently visited our new Wegmans and asked management how many employees in that location — yes, 600. 

This is a significant expansion for the Salisbury, N.C.-based Bottom Dollar Food, which has 28 stores in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. I did a bit of research on the company – they opened their first store in 2005, 5 years ago!   They seemed to have discovered a niche market-place by keeping their stores very simple in design.  One of the ways they are able to drive the prices down to bargain-basement level is by removing the fancy, expensive displays.  Interesting concept given Wegmans over-the-top approach!  They keep the isles wide, displays simple and have a color-coding system showing the various levels of mark-downs.  Special ’bargain’ areas in the stores are indicated with color-coded signage.  Kind of reminds me of the Syms approach – you read the price tag and the date determines the price.  The longer the item remains at Syms, the lower the price.

Bottom Dollar Food will open their first Philadelphia area store in the fall.  The president of the Bottom Dollar Food Meg Ham, reports that  “Bottom Dollar Food has great potential in the market as we believe it is underserved in the soft-discount grocer arena”.  Interesting.

However, the most interesting point of the article was the list of new store locations, including  197 E. Dekalb Pike, Upper Merion (King of Prussia).  Short of driving up 202 north and looking for the address, I’m wondering if that is the Genuardi’s store on 202?  I looked at all the stores on the list and unfortunately a Chesterbrook location was not on the list.  But that poses an interesting question, would people rather see an empty anchor store in the Chesterbrook Shopping Center as opposed to some kind of discount store?

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