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
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.