You can get there from here: Landenberg Village begins next chapter in its storied history08/01/2023 03:29PM ● By Richard Gaw
Photo by Richard L. Gaw Landenberg Village, which includes the historic Landenberg Store, is now under the ownership of Fenix Capital Group.
By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer
Landenberg – indeed, the entirety of New Garden Township – is a community of constant evolution and redefinition, and liberally dotted with landmarks that seem to defy the inevitability of progress.
Perhaps the most prominent of these has been the Landenberg Store and the adjacent Landenberg Hotel, which have steadfastly remained a part of the town since 1872. While the hotel has been retrofitted for small offices and rental apartments, the store has served as the town’s informal epicenter, where for the price of a sandwich, a visitor can obtain the latest and best gossip in southern Chester County.
For both the hotel and the store, all of that is about to change…for the better.
On July 5, after several months of being on the market, Landenberg Village -- which includes the hotel, the store and an adjacent pump house – was sold for the price of $1.062 million to Fenix Capital Group, a real estate company that specializes in creating innovative and sustainable projects in Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania. Founded in 2015, Fenix’s portfolio includes over 50 mixed-use developments, residential properties and commercial buildings, each designed to meet the needs of the surrounding community.
Fenix co-owner Aaron Jones said that he and co-owner Matt Feldman – who have been friends since attending high school together in Phoenixville – had begun to take an interest in Landenberg Village over the past several months, as part of the company’s continuing expansion into Chester County.
“When we visited Landenberg Village for the first time a few months ago, we both fell in love with it, simply put,” Jones said. “It is so unique, and what we loved about it was that it represents an opportunity for Matt, myself, and our partners to highlight all of the things that we enjoy doing.”
“For instance, I am a musician, and I would love to have a space outdoors at Landenberg Village for live music,” Feldman said. “We also have partnerships in the restaurant industry, and when you add all of that up, it will allow us to develop new ideas, such as engaging with the community, taking this property from where it is now as a historical property and expanding its importance without losing its historical significance.”
Landenberg’s new ‘Staycation’
For nearly every Landenberger, there is at least one story told to out-of-town visitors that forces the local to explain that the Landenberg Hotel is no longer one. Under its new ownership, the structure will be converted into a six-room inn, with each room uniquely designed to include appliances, furniture and amenities including wi-fi, as well as a remodeled central living area and refurbished deck that overlooks the White Clay Creek. While the hotel will be open to anyone wishing to explore the many attractions in the Chester and Brandywine valleys, Fenix will coordinate curated, three-to-four-day packages for small groups and families who are interested in outdoor sportsman activities; exploration of the area’s many trails and nature walks; tours of the many local vineyards and wineries; and various other long-weekend excursions that will allow them to enjoy a short “staycation” in a somewhat “off-the-grid” location.
“We want to repurpose the hotel in such a way that it creates the illusion that you have just driven four hours to upstate New York while only 30 minutes from downtown Wilmington or an hour south of Philadelphia,” Jones said. “While we will create experiences throughout the year, the hotel will also give those who just wish to park their car for the weekend, and walk or fish the White Clay Creek Preserve, have all of their meals prepared next door at the Landenberg Store, enjoy a quiet evening on the deck and then stay overnight at a boutique hotel with their friends and their family.”
A new store for a new community
While there are no immediate plans to refurbish – and repurpose – the Landenberg Store, Jones and Feldman said that they are working with a team of restaurateurs to broaden the store’s menu, an upgrade that will also include sourcing food from regional vendors and farms, and giving customers the opportunity for online ordering and catering. All staff have been retained and have been very helpful in teaching Fenix the ins-and-outs of both the store and community.
“We’re not looking to convert the Landenberg Store into an upscale restaurant, but be able to add more to what is currently being offered, not in the cost of menu items, but in terms of providing quality ingredients,” Jones said.
While the current infrastructure of the store – as well as current township regulations --prevents Jones and Feldman from doing so now, their long-term goal is to create dine-in seating at the Landenberg Store, perhaps within the next few years.
Feldman said the immediate timeline of projects will be to complete the redesign of two of the hotel’s six rooms by the fall, as well as offering online ordering and catering. Also included in the short-term plans for Landenberg Village will be the addition of an outdoor “music garden patio” – complete with benches and rope lights -- at the exterior of the hotel, that will feature local singer-songwriters who will perform intimate concerts, beginning this fall.
“We envision this patio as a cool location for everyone, from those staying at the hotel to those driving by or coming off of a nature trail, that wish to pick something up from the Landenberg Store and hear live music,” Jones said.
With the purchase of Landenberg Village, Feldman said that he and Jones are creating a new “there” for a town that has jokingly referred to itself as “not being able to get there from here.”
“We want to create the new Landenberg Village as a destination for people who are looking to get away from the norm, season by season and event by event, in connection with our local partners,” Feldman said. “We wish to be an ideal destination for new experiences for those who wish to spend an ideal weekend in Landenberg.
“We’re here to create a getaway experience – and through the support of our neighbors -- we will continue to listen to them and create a great communal environment that everyone can come and enjoy. We’re just getting started, and there is a lot to come.”
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].