Pattye Benson

Community Matters

500 Chesterbrook Boulevard

Official ground breaking & ribbon-cutting for Chesterbrook … “rebirth of a broken shopping center” Public Invited!

If you live in Chesterbrook or have driven on Chesterbrook Boulevard by the Chesterbrook Shopping Center during the last several months, you will have seen obvious signs of the long awaited redevelopment project which includes both razing and resurrection.

The center’s mixed-use development plan uses Tredyffrin’s newly created Town Center District for the 13-acre site with 123 new residential town homes, ‘Parkview at Chesterbrook’ and 30,000+ sq. ft. of commercial space (utilizing the front row of the existing building).

The public is invited to attend the official ground breaking and ribbon-cutting of the “rebirth of a broken shopping center” on Tuesday, July 28 at 11 AM. Invitation below —

Chesterbrook ribbon cutting invitation

Chesterbrook Shopping Center & Wayne Glen projects are on Tredyffrin’s Planning Commission meeting for Monday

The new owner of the Chesterbrook Village Shopping Center has not yet shared its plans for the half-vacant retail complex. (Caroline O'Halloran/Main Line Media News)There is an update with forward movement on the Chesterbrook Shopping Center redevelopment project! The developers of the shopping center, 500 Chesterbrook Boulevard LP, will appear in front of the Planning Commission on Monday, April 27, 7 PM to review the preliminary/final subdivision application for the site. The developers plan is to redevelop the existing 13-acre site, which contains approximately 122,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, into a mixed used development. Their plan contains approximately 31,000 sq. ft. of commercial space (utilizing a portion of the existing building) and 124 residential townhouses in the newly created Town Center District.

It has been nearly 4 years since Genuardi’s in the Chesterbrook Shopping Center closed. With the departure of the 40,000 square foot grocery store, the Center saw a significant drop in foot traffic and began a downward spiral as the empty storefronts continued.

The redevelopment of the Chesterbrook Shopping Center is very overdue – this project is going to be a win-win for the neighboring residents, the corporate employees working in Chesterbrook and other township residents, who like me, drive through the area regularly.

Also in front of the Planning Commissioners on Monday is the Wayne Glen development project. Unlike the widespread community support that developers have enjoyed with the Chesterbrook redevelopment plans, the Arcadia Land Company project ‘Wayne Glen’ at the northwest corner of the intersection of Swedesford and Old Eagle Roads, has seen its share of spirited debate.

Wayne Glen

The proposed Wayne Glen project is a mixed-use development with carriage homes and townhouses plus an office-building component. The issue for the residents close to the Richter Tract is how the developer will manage the stormwater situation as much of this area, including Glenhardie, is prone to regular flooding. The Wayne Glen project is located in the Trout Creek Overlay District and the Arcadia developers believe that their plan will utilize design techniques that will alleviate the erosion along the stream banks and flooding issues and improve the poor water quality.

On Monday, the Planning Commissioners will consider Arcadia’s conditional use application to construct 104 residential units in the R-1 Residential District and approximately 240,000 sq. ft. of non-residential building area in the Professional District.

The target audience for the residential construction in both the Wayne Glen and Chesterbrook projects is the age 55 and over market – the emptynesters and those people interested in downsizing from their large single family homes. However, with a combined increase of approximately 230 new residences between the two projects, the possibility does exist for additional school age children for the T/E School District. Typically, there is representation at these Planning Commission meetings by the School Board. However, the Planning Commission meeting on Monday conflicts with the regularly monthly meeting of the School Board.

As an aside, at the last Public Information Meeting this past week, Barb Jackson, an Easttown resident and T/E parent, asked about Dr. Waters contract and whether he would be retiring when his contract ended in June 2015. After Waters confirmed that he would retire, a follow-up question was asked regarding the search committee and process to find a replacement. Although not listed on the School Board meeting agenda for Monday, Board President Kevin Buraks told those of us at the meeting that the Board would give the specific details on the superintendent search at the upcoming school board meeting on Monday.

Tredyffrin Twp Planning Commission agenda — Chesterbrook Shopping Center project & Plans for 250-unit multifamily building in Paoli!

The upcoming Planning Commission meeting on Thursday has a couple of major township redevelopment projects on the agenda for discussion – Chesterbrook Shopping Center and 250 unit multi-family building with structured parking in Paoli.

The applicant for the Chesterbrook Shopping Center project, 500 Chesterbrook Boulevard, LP is back in front of the Planning Commissioners regarding the proposed text amendments to the Town Center District (TCD). The proposed TCD changes included amending the standard for building height, sidewalks, parking, building façade and the steep slope regulation, to differentiate for manmade steep slopes. The Planning Commission originally approved the TCD zoning changes on November 21 and sent it to the Board of Supervisors for review at their December 16 meeting. However, after discussion and community input, the supervisors sent the proposed TCD text amendments back to the PC for further work that will happen at Thursday’s meeting.

One of the sticking points in the proposed zoning changes is in regards to steep slopes; the current TCD ordinance differentiates between natural and manmade slopes but makes no distinction from a regulatory standpoint – both have the same requirements. It is the suggestion of the applicant that if the slope is manmade because of a prior development (which is the case at the Chesterbrook Shopping Center), it should not need to be preserved – especially when considering that much of the development affected by this will be redevelopment. For those that don’t know, the backside of Chesterbrook Shopping Center (Wilson Farm Park side) is multi-story; the slope created as part of the original development plan when the center was constructed.

Ever since Genuardi’s closed 3-1/2 years ago, the center has continued its spiral downward. Unlike the retail stores that may close along Rt. 252 or Lancaster Avenue, the Chesterbrook Shopping Center is the core of Chesterbrook – it’s their town center. The redevelopment of the Chesterbrook Shopping Center is very overdue – this project is going to be a win-win for the neighboring residents, the corporate employees working in Chesterbrook and other township residents, who like I drive through the area regularly. I hope that the 500 Chesterbrook Boulevard, LP developer can successfully maneuverer any remaining obstacles regarding the text amendment zoning changes and this exciting project can move forward!

I wish I could say that I was as positive about the proposed Paoli redevelopment project as I am about the Chesterbrook Shopping Center. The owner of Station Square (a group of dated office buildings at the corner of East Central and N. Valley Road), the Palmer Group is proposing a 250-unit multifamily building with structured parking plan at this site adjacent to the Paoli Train Station. Having just praised the plans for the Chesterbrook Shopping Center, my objection to the Station Square project has nothing to do with not supporting redevelopment.

There are so many issues surrounding the proposed Station Square project, it’s hard to know where to start. First off, for anyone that travels on North Valley Road or Central Avenue during either morning or afternoon rush hours, you know how much traffic already exists in this area of the township. Certainly, the employees working in the existing Station Square office buildings contribute to the traffic although a certain number probably use the convenient adjacent public transportation. However, any additional traffic from the Station Square office workers is Monday-Friday, 9 – 5 type of traffic. However, the addition of a 250 unit multifamily building in this location and the traffic is compounded – and it’s 24/7 traffic.

The residents of Valley Hills already face major morning and afternoon traffic challenges maneuvering from their community onto E. Central and N. Valley roads – I cannot imagine how the local roads will handle the traffic created by an additional 250 families or the quality of life effect on the neighbors.

I am certain that an argument to support this proposed project is that it is part of of the Paoli Transit Center and Paoli redevelopment vision. However, I have problems with the density of the development and the additional traffic issues such a project will cause. One of the arguments regularly used by residents opposing the Wayne Glen development project is the potential additional students into the T/E School District. The targeted audience for the proposed Wayne Glen townhouses and carriage homes and the new Chesterbrook townhouses is the 55+ buyer but that has not kept that argument from being made. However, my guess is the planned 250-unit multifamily building in Paoli is going to appeal to families with children and will provide a lower cost way to enjoy the benefits of the T/E schools. As an aside, it is clear from attending school board meetings that many of our schools are currently operating at near capacity and this proposed Station Square multifamily building could have a dramatic effect on the school district enrollment.

According to the Planning Commission agenda, the developer will provide a sketch plan of the Station Square project. This is the first opportunity for residents to hear about the concept and see the plans – I look forward to hearing how the developer plans to resolve the additional traffic issues and density concerns.

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