Plans for Brown Derby property unveiled in New Garden
● By Richard Gaw
The resurgent Village of Toughkenamon, whose economic spirits have been lifted in the past year with new businesses and bold ideas, is primed to add another notch to its transformation with the planned construction of new town homes on the site of the now-closed Brown Derby on 1470 West Baltimore Pike.
In a presentation before the board, Geoffrey Bosley, vice president and chief financial officer of LGB Properties – a Kennett Square-based real estate management and renovation firm – spelled out the company's plans to develop 8 to 10 town homes on the rear of the four-parcel, 1.35-acre property, which borders with Church Street. Each town home will be estimated at $225,000 each, and will include three bedrooms and a one-car garage per unit.
Bosley said that LGB Properties also has plans to re-develop the restaurant building, which include the construction of up to 9 two-bedroom apartments and a small take-out restaurant or a small office space. At the moment, the company currently has the Brown Derby property under agreement, and hopes to finalize its sale in a few weeks. Construction, Bosley said, could begin as early as the fall.
“We think that the property is in need of a re-freshening and a makeover, and [present] a different idea than how it currently sits,” Bosley said. “We feel that it will kick start development in Toughkenamon, bring in new residents to the township, and also bring in additional property and EIT taxes. We feel we can do this while complimenting the surrounding houses across the street and in the area.
“We feel the development will also align with the Chester County Comprehensive Plan's plans for affordable housing, so it checks a lot of boxes on what may be a positive.”
The key issues for the plans, Bosley told the board, are parking, zoning and how to situate town homes and apartments in a relatively dense area.
“We've spent a fair amount of time over the past few months talking to a number of different people,” he said. “We're trying to find what we think is the best use [for the property], and what makes sense for the township.”
LGB Properties' ideas for the Brown Derby property coincide with current and long-range plans that are stimulating new businesses in Toughkenamon, creating opportunities to draw new residents, and improving the aesthetics of a village that has for several years been viewed as a “drive-by” community between Route 41 and Route 1. The updated New Garden Township Comprehensive Plan calls for creating streetscape improvements in Toughkenamon, as a plan to developing it as a center for business and housing.
In February, Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf announced that 45 highway, bridge, bike and pedestrian, and ports and waterways projects across the state will be bolstered by a $41.5 million investment, including $2 million for improvements to the Baltimore Pike/Newark Road intersection in Toughkenamon. Planned improvements will include signal modernization with pedestrian signals and emergency preemption, road realignment and widening, new turn lanes, as well as ADA-compliant sidewalks and crosswalks.
After a hearing before the board, the supervisors decided to delay a decision on whether to tweak a township zoning amendment that would, if changed, permit the construction of a self-storage facility on Route 41, across from Keenan Auto Parts, and adjacent to the Brittany Hills Development.
In a hearing before the board, attorney Joseph Riper, representing the applicant Mark Property Management II, L.P., said the company has entered into an agreement to purchase the property, but because it falls into the township's Unified Development Zone (UDZ), a facility of this kind is not permitted to be constructed on the site.
Riper appealed to the board to consider amending the ordinance.
This was a return visit to the township for Mark Property Management II, L.P., who first spelled out its proposed plans to the board in June, which included the construction of a 76,000-square-foot, two-level building. The plans also call for a landscape buffer to be placed between the storage facility and the Brittany Hills development.
Because supervisors Michael Loftus and Richard Ayotte were not present at the meeting, the remaining supervisors – chairman Randy Geouque, Steve Allaband and Patrick Little – voted to table a decision until the board meets again on Sept. 17. Loftus and Ayotte will be given a transcript of the hearing.
In other township business, the supervisors voted 'Yes' on a proposal by Thomas Comitta Associates, a West Chester-based town planning and architectural firm, to have the company create an official township map, at a cost of $8,500.
Three partners from TRU Performance, a newly-formed youth training company, introduced their plans to purchase and occupy a 3,200 square-foot building, the former site of an auto repair business that sits on 2.14 acres on Line Road, as a new home for the company. The facility will provide young athletes with opportunities to increase their strength and agility in the sport they pursue, under the tutelage of certified trainers. The building would serve as the first “home” of the company, who is currently conducting classes and programs at schools, in parks and in private homes.
After discussion with the supervisors, the partners were advised to pursue an application to operate the facility through the township's conditional use application process, and to discuss their plans with the township's Zoning Hearing Board.
The board also announced the formation of the township's Agricultural Committee, which will include Ed Leo, Barclay Hoopes, Michael Pia, Jr., Chris Robinson and supervisor Steve Allaband.
Township Manager Tony Scheivert announced that the official groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility for the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department will take place on Sept. 12 at 10:30 a.m., at the site of the new building on Route 41.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.