In Kennett Square, excitement for a potential new use of 120 East State Street
● By Steven Hoffman
Kennett Square Borough officials are excited about the potential new use for 120 East State Street—certainly one of the most under-utilized buildings in the town’s commercial district that has undergone a tremendous revitalization over the last two decades.
At the council meeting on Aug. 5, Nate Echeverria, the economic development director for the Kennett area, introduced Nick Winkler, a businessman who is interested in bringing the work2gether co-working space concept to Kennett Square.
Winkler and his wife Melinda opened a work2gether space in Downingtown two years ago, and it has been highly successful. Co-working spaces allow freelancers, professionals who work from home, and business travelers to rent flexible space in a professional work environment.
These co-working spaces have grown in popularity as more and more workers are able to do their jobs from remote locations.
It’s easy to understand why Kennett Square officials would be excited about a new, modern use for 120 East State Street. The building was once the home of the Kennett Cafe, but has been long shuttered.
More than a decade ago, restaurateur Jack McFadden purchased the building with an eye toward opening an upscale restaurant at the location. The borough helped McFadden secure revolving loan funding through the state as part of Pennsylvania’s efforts to boost economic development. As the revolving loan fund was paid back, the borough had that money to then use for other economic development projects.
A large-scale renovation of the building was undertaken, and went on for years. Eventually, McFadden’s plans changed. At one time, there were talks about a wine bar and a tapas restaurant before McFadden abandoned plans altogether.
Historic Kennett Square officials worked with the building’s owner to find a tenant, but nothing has progressed further than the discussion and research stage. As recently as three years ago, a potential buyer was looking to open a restaurant at the location. Now, it appears as if a new use for the building is close.
Borough council approved the terms of a revolving loan fund agreement for work2gether, which is seeking a $100,000 loan to get the business started in Kennett Square.
There is no date set for work2gether to open in Kennett Square, but the hope is that it will debut sometime in the fall of 2019.
In other business at the council meeting:
Borough council approved a resolution establishing an ad hoc Human Relations Committee that will handle a lot of the tasks involved with establishing a standing Human Relations Commission. Borough council included a Human Relations Commission as part of an anti-discrimination ordinance that it adopted. There has been a delay in naming the members of the Human Relations Commission because of the complexities of establishing the rules, procedures, and training requirements for members. Now, with the appointment of an ad hoc committee to focus on those tasks, the goal is to establish the Human Relations Commission in 2020.
Kennett Square Borough Council approved a Special Events Application for a Magnolia Street Block Party and for the Kennett High School Homecoming Parade that is set to take place on Sept. 20.