Whitpain hears plan for office park site
It’s taken a decade, but a long-term master plan for the former Unisys property LV finDlly Ln SlDFH.
Representatives from CRUSRUDtH 2IfiFH 3URSHUties Trust, a publicly traded UHDl HVtDtH LnvHVtmHnt fiUm focused on developing and mDnDJLnJ RIfiFH SURSHUtLHV, presented their plan for the SURSHUty GuULnJ thH WhLtpain Board of Supervisors Sept. 18 meeting. The plan calls for transforming the area into a 10-building complex with 1.6 million square IHHt RI RIfiFH VSDFH DLmHG Dt FUHDtLnJ D thULvLnJ RIfiFH park.
The future of the former Unisys property — a 137acre area in the Blue Bell section of the township located along Union Meeting Road just north of the Northeast Extension — has been the subject of numerous plans during the past decade, including one for a hospital eight years ago, according to board Chairman Joseph 3DlmHU. 7hH tRwnVhLS hDV
been searching for a compatible property use and also asked the owner to present a long-term plan rather than presenting individual building projects piecemeal.
tayne Lingafelter, president of ClmT’s development and construction division, outlined the company’s past and ongoing efIRUWV WR UHnRvDWH fivH RIfiFH buildings, along with future plans to add an additional fivH EuLOGLnJV.
Arborcrest, as the property is now known, is divided into four parcels, three of which ClmT owns. Another entity owns the fourth, but it is working with ClmT on the master plan, according to Lingafelter. lf the 137 acres, 84 are zoned industrial, with the remainder zoned for research and engineering.
To date, ClmT has invested $69 million in the prop- erty, creating 730,000 VTuDUH IHHW RI RIfiFH space in four buildings, with approximately 490,000 square feet occupied by various tenants, according to /LnJDIHOWHU. 7hH fiIWh VWUuFture on the property is currently a shell of a building undergoing development.
lne of the buildings features an amenity center with an eatery, conference rooms DnG D fiWnHVV FHnWHU.
“that we’re trying to create here in the long run LV Dn RIfiFH FDPSuV,” /Lngafelter said.
Lingafelter said several RI WhH RIfiFH EuLOGLnJV DUH almost 50 years old, and ClmT has invested in orGHU WR PRGHUnLzH WhH RIfiFH park.
“te now are at the point where we’re ready to advance that vision,” he said.
That advancement, as laid out in the master plan, includes roughly doubling the property’s density by con- VWUuFWLnJ fivH RIfiFH EuLOGings, along with a parking garage. The new construction would bring the businHVV SDUN’V WRWDO RIfiFH space to approximately 1.6 million square feet, according to Lingafelter. Under township zoning, 2.3 million to 2.4 million square feet would be allowed, he noted.
“te’ve worked hard at how we’ve located those on the map,” Lingafelter said, noting the highest-density buildings would be located farthest from the adjacent residential neighborhood. The plan also calls for signLfiFDnW EuIIHUV DnG VHWEDFNV VHSDUDWLnJ WhH RIfiFH park from residences.
Common outdoor areas Ln WhH RIfiFH SDUN wRuOG be available to township residents, according to Lingafelter. Additionally, ClmT has agreed to incorporate the on-site lake into the township trail sys- tem and also has talked to the township about a trail DURunG WhH RIfiFH SDUN WhDW would connect to the trail system.
thile Lingafelter was hesitant to put a time frame on the proposed master plan, he said it might take 10 to 15 years to implement, dependent upon the economy and the ability to secure tenants.
Lingafelter acknowledged the importance of considerLnJ WUDIfiF — WhH LVVuH WhDW drew the most concern from the approximately 35 residents in attendance.
The plan calls for maintaining the current four access points, with Lingafelter VDyLnJ WUDIfiF VWuGLHV hDvH been done and ClmT would make the appropriate contribution to the township to offset the impact on outside WUDIfiF SDWWHUnV.
The access point that raised the most concern among residents was the one exiting onto toodland Drive, or Univac Drive, on the northeast corner of the property.
Richard Burns, who lives right near that access point, said he could foresee a huge portion of the complex’s employees using that exit. then Unisys occupied the property, there were routinely half-hour backups, which would be longer with more employees in the offiFH SDUN, hH VDLG.
“That’s way too much WUDIfiF,” hH VDLG.
Residents also pressed C237 IRU PRUH VSHFLfiF details, such as the number of employees the complex could accommodate and the number of planned parking VSDFHV — fiJuUHV /LnJDIHOter did not have on hand for the presentation on the conceptual plan.
“The meat and potatoes were lacking tonight,” resident Ed metko said.
The board and township staff said the purpose of the presentation was to hear about the long-term concept, while plans for each individual building would have to go through the usual land development process and come before the board.
“thile this may seem like a cursory review or a skeleton, getting to the skeleton has been quite a journey,” malmer said.
The master plan does not need to be approved by the board, but some type of agreement would be needed to create an understanding between the township and ClmT about the general idea for square footage, building location and DFFHVV SRLnWV DW WhH RIfiFH park, according to township Solicitor Jim Garrity.
“The goal here is to develop that property in a way that is vibrant for the township but is compatible for the neighbors,” malmer said.