De­vel­oper, bor­ough agree to land swap

Phoenixville and Phoenix View LLC agree to ex­change the for­mer mu­nic­i­pal build­ing with a 2.9-acre lot of land next to Friend­ship Field

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Eric Devlin ede­vlin@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Eric_Devlin on Twit­ter

PHOENIXVILLE >> Af­ter nearly 34 months of ne­go­ti­a­tions, a real es­tate de­vel­oper and the bor­ough have agreed to a land swap, the bor­ough an­nounced Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

The bor­ough and Phoenix View LLC have agreed to ex­change the for­mer mu­nic­i­pal build­ing at 140 Church St. with a 2.9-acre lot of land next to Friend­ship Field.

Phoenix View plans to build a 70-unit se­nior hous­ing fa­cil­ity at the Church Street site, while the bor­ough plans to build a recre­ation cen­ter next to Friend­ship Field some­time in the fu­ture, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

In August of 2013, the bor­ough re­lo­cated its mu­nic­i­pal of­fices and po­lice sta­tion from the 140 Church St. site to its new lo­ca­tion at 351 Bridge St. At the time, the plan was to put the prop­erty up for auc­tion. Staff be­gan work­ing with re­gional auc­tion firm Max Spann to mar­ket the prop­erty, the re­lease states.

Con­cur­rently, Phoenix View had ne­go­ti­ated the ac­qui­si­tion of the 2.9-acre lot at the south­east cor­ner of Fill­more Street and Franklin Av­enue from Friend­ship Fire Com­pany as that prop­erty was no longer needed when the com­pany had ear­lier merged with Phoenix Hose Hook & Lad­der No. 1, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

Phoenix View LLC sub­mit­ted a sub­di­vi­sion and land de­vel­op­ment plan for a 70-unit af­ford­able se­nior hous­ing com­plex for its new site. The bor­ough plan­ning com­mis­sion and bor­ough coun­cil re­sisted the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment and re­quired the de­vel­oper to go through the con­di­tional use process. In De­cem­ber 2013, Phoenix View ul­ti­mately re­ceived its con­di­tional use ap­proval, the re­lease states.

Rec­og­niz­ing nei­ther side was happy with the end re­sult, staff met with the part­ners of Phoe-

nix View to see what, if any­thing, could make for a bet­ter project. It was at that time, the part­ners asked about the 140 Church St. site. They be­lieved that site would reg­is­ter in a more pos­i­tive way for fund­ing from the Penn­syl­va­nia Hous­ing and Fi­nance Au­thor­ity as a more at­trac­tive down­town site for se­niors, the re­lease states.

Af­ter dis­cussing the mat­ter with bor­ough coun­cil and its so­lic­i­tor, bor­ough staff be­gan the process of ne­go­ti­at­ing the swap of prop­er­ties which is al­lowed un­der bor­ough code when meet­ing cer­tain con­di­tions, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

While the ac­tual swap of land was agreed to early on, the de­vel­oper needed to know that it could de­velop its project at the for­mer mu­nic­i­pal site and sub­mit­ted their sub­di­vi­sion and land de­vel­op­ment plan to the plan­ning com­mis­sion and bor­ough coun­cil. That plan was ap­proved in March 2016, the re­lease states.

Con­cur­rently, the de­vel­oper sub­mit­ted its ap­pli­ca­tion to Penn­syl­va­nia Hous­ing and Fi­nance Au­thor­ity for con­struc­tion fund­ing. While the Phoenixville project ranked very well, the Penn­syl­va­nia Hous­ing and Fi­nance Au­thor­ity pro­gram is ex­cep­tion­ally com­pet­i­tive on a statewide ba­sis. The Phoenixville project fell just short of an ap­proval and the de­vel­oper was no­ti­fied in July of this year they had not re­ceived fund­ing, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

In August, the bor­ough and the part­ners agreed that it was time to fin­ish the land trans­ac­tion com­po­nent of the project so that the bor­ough could move for­ward with plans to com­bine the 2.9 acres with the 7-acre par­cel known as Friend­ship Field and Phoenix View would have site con­trol for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease. In early Oc­to­ber, both sides of­fi­cially ex­changed prop­er­ties.

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