New plan nixes apartments
Urban Outfitters, developer strike a deal that removes 4-story building and garage
DEVON >> If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
In a letter Tuesday, J. David Ziel, chief development officer for Urban Outfitters, Inc. announced that a new plan for Devon Yards will soon be submitted to Easttown Township officials. The new plan will no longer include a four-story apartment building and parking deck on the eastern side of the former Waterloo Gardens property that had been residents’ main objection to the project, the letter said.
The retail company “has long envisioned a vibrant ‘Devon Yards’ lifestyle center on the site of the old Waterloo Gardens in Devon,” Ziel said in his letter. The “plan is to build a large format Anthropologie store, Terrain garden center, and Terrain Café, alongside award winning chef, Marc Vetri’s Amis and Pizzeria Vetri. We have pursued this goal for three years and have been gratified by the community’s strong support for our vision.”
Urban Outfitters “has supported the proposed zoning changes for both its own and the developer, Waterloo Devon, L.P.’s project. The community, however, raised concerns regarding certain elements of the proposed mixed use development. We had initially believed that an accommodation could be reached that would satisfy everyone. When it became clear, however, that a compromise would not be reached, (Urban) worked with Waterloo Devon, L.P. to find a solution that would address the community’s concerns and allow the Devon Yards project to proceed.
“We are now pleased to announce that we have
reached an agreement with Waterloo Devon L.P. and will shortly be proposing a new version of the Devon Yards project ... ,” Ziel wrote.
Ziel went on to thank the township Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission for “their hard work and effort” on the project.
“We look forward to continued support for our Devon Yards project and to quickly moving through the zoning process to actualize our vision,” Ziel wrote.
Developer Eli Kahn said, “We’re very happy. We spent months working out a deal that was best for everybody and allowed the project to move forward expeditiously.”
Kahn added, “There should be no complaints about this. One of the highest quality retailers anywhere in the country is doing a one of the kind shopping, retail and restaurant environment in the heart of Devon. I couldn’t be happier.”
Kahn hopes to begin building Devon Yards next year. Asked about what will be sited on the area that was formerly to be a garage and an apartment building, he said it would be surface parking.
Joseph Kohn, a resident and lawyer who represented a group of neighbors opposed to the earlier
Devon Yards proposal, was happy that the new agreement removes the apartment building and parking garage from the plan.
“We’re certainly pleased that that appears to be off the table,” said Kohn. However, he said it was “unclear, what if anything will be done on that side of the street. We want to look at the details of the refined plans for the old Waterloo Gardens site.” The residents never had a problem with the retail and restaurant proposal, he said.
“We want to see the details, but we are glad the retail development will move forward consistent with the zoning and no longer be held hostage to the plan for an apartment building,” he added. “Overall, it looks like a positive development.”
At previous township meetings, residents packed the room to express opposition to the previously proposed Devon Yards development, fearing additional traffic, noise and density from the proposed apartments and that the tall apartment building would loom over the historic Devon Horse Show grounds.