Another sign of Kennett Square's progress
● By Steven Hoffman
Twenty-five years ago, it might have been difficult to imagine a Kennett Square with a vibrant downtown filled with locally owned shops and clothing boutiques and restaurants.
Fifteen years ago, it might have been difficult to imagine Kennett Square being the home of an upscale indoor market like The Market at Liberty Place or a beautiful, mixed-use development like Magnolia Place. It would have been difficult to envision Kennett Square attracting a stalwart company like Genesis HealthCare, that still serves as an economic anchor to the town.
Yet, here we are in 2015 and Kennett Square does have a vibrant downtown filled with shops and restaurants. The Market at Liberty Place is an anchor on West State Street. The Magnolia Place and Victory Brewing projects are changing the look and feel of Kennett Square, and already another major project is on the horizon.
Just last week, StanAb LP made its first public presentation to Kennett Square Borough Council about a project that would add 175 luxury apartments and 8,700 square feet of retail space to the 600 block of West State Street, effectively extending the borough's commercial district.
StanAb LP has been involved with numerous projects in West Chester, including the restoration of a former Woolworth's Department Store building into a retail office strip center that is anchored by Iron Hill Brewery and office suites.
The fact that a company with the track record of StanAb LP wants to pursue making a multi-million dollar investment in Kennett Square speaks volumes about how far the borough has come.
The arrival of Iron Hill Brewery in West Chester is considered by some to be the start of the revitalization of the borough that continues to this day. Tony Stancato, a principal of StanAb, said that he sees similarities between Kennett Square and West Chester.
With its deep roster of shops and restaurants and The Market at Liberty Place, Magnolia Place, and Victory Brewing, Kennett Square is simultaneously quaint and historic and vibrant and modern.
StanAb LP had a market study prepared before deciding to pursue the Lofts at State Street in Kennett Square. A survey of people who live and work in the area found that 40 percent of the respondents would consider moving in or close to downtown Kennett Square.
The business owners, elected officials, and residents who have worked tirelessly on the revitalization effort during the last two decades should be proud. Kennett Square is, indeed, a classic small town.