A GOOD START

Bor­ough be­gins year with menu of re­de­vel­op­ment plans

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt [email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

Three re­de­vel­op­ment projects re­ceived a fa­vor­able re­ac­tion from bor­ough coun­cil Wed­nes­day night with all three seem­ingly on track for fi­nal ap­proval Mon­day.

The first to be con­sid­ered, and the one in the big­gest rush dur­ing Wed­nes­day night’s work ses­sion, were the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Cat­a­lyst Com­mer­cial De­vel­op­ment in Con­shohocken.

Dol­lar Gen­eral at For­mer Sub­way

They were be­fore coun­cil with a plan to re-de­velop the prop­erty at 1432 E. High St., which many may know as the site of the for­mer Sub­way res-

tau­rant.

Cat­a­lyst rep­re­sen­ta­tive Aaron Repucci told coun­cil the plan is to de­mol­ish the por­tion of the build­ing that once held the Sub­way to cre­ate more park­ing and cre­ate space for a Dol­lar Gen­eral store.

The re-de­vel­op­ment will also al­low for ex­pan­sion of both King Pizza and the pop­u­lar Three Brothers Grill Mex­i­can restau­rant there.

The de­vel­op­ers were ask­ing for coun­cil to waive the land de­vel­op­ment process, ar­gu­ing that they are ac­tu­ally mak­ing the build­ing foot­print smaller, cre­at­ing more park­ing and open space, as well as re­pair­ing and ex­tend­ing the fa­cade to hide the util­i­ties vis­i­ble on the roof of the build­ing.

Also, said Repucci, Dol­lar Gen­eral is anx­ious to move in soon.

“They want this lease signed yes­ter­day, and they want to be in by Au­gust,” he said, adding that any de­lay may cause the de­vel­op­ers to lose the ten­ant. It’s that ten­ancy that makes the project fi­nan­cially fea­si­ble, they said.

De­spite the fact that the bor­ough en­gi­neer’s re­view let­ter had only been re­ceived that evening, coun­cil seemed in­clined to try to ac­com­mo­date the project, par­tic­u­larly given that some of the el­e­ments sought by the plan­ning com­mis­sion, such as some brick and faux iron fenc­ing sim­i­lar to that along the Wawa and McDon­ald’s, was added to the plan.

They even ex­plored the idea of hold­ing a spe­cial meet­ing later in the month for a vote if it was felt more time was needed for con­sid­er­a­tion. Coun­cil­man Ryan Proc­sal, who de­clared him­self a reg­u­lar cus­tomer of Three Brothers, said he was ready to vote “right now” in fa­vor of the plan.

Burger King

An­other re­de­vel­op­ment project in the East End of town calls for the ad­di­tion of a play area and bet­ter drive-thru cir­cu­la­tion at the Burger King at 1515 E. High St., which will re­sult in the loss of 15 park­ing places.

Bor­ough Man­ager Justin Keller told coun­cil the restau­rant’s busi­ness is chang­ing and more of its cus­tomers want to get their food at the drive-thru so the pro­posed changes will al­low the ad­di­tion of a sec­ond drive-thru kiosk.

Coun­cil raised no ob­jects to this plan and will vote on it at Mon­day night’s meet­ing.

Cre­ative Health

Over on the other side of town, Cre­ative Health re­turned with its fi­nal plans for a “longterm struc­tured res­i­dence” at 71 Robin­son St.

This plan calls for ren­o­vat­ing the for­mer Pal­ladino Roof­ing build­ing into of­fices and six rooms with two beds each, and the con­struc­tion of a 1,600-foot cot­tage with two rooms, each with two beds, for pa­tients of Cre­ative Health.

The rooms will be used to pre­pare pa­tients to be tran­si­tioned back into the com­mu­nity and is sim­i­lar to the fa­cil­ity that Cre­ative Health al­ready op­er­ates at 11 Robin­son Street, said An­drew Trenta­coste, Cre­ative Health CEO.

Bor­ough So­lic­i­tor Charles D. Gar­ner Jr. said al­though not re­quired to, Cre­ative Health has made a siz­able con­tri­bu­tion to a fund to pay for a new traf­fic sig­nal in that part of town when it be­comes nec­es­sary.

The plan­ning com­mis­sion has rec­om­mended pre­lim­i­nary/fi­nal site plan ap­proval on which coun­cil will vote Mon­day night.

Ex­pand­ing Busi­ness and More Plans

Peggy Lee-Clark, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Pottstown Area In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment, bet­ter known as PAID, also an­nounced that the Robin­son Street/Shoe­maker Road area of town is about to be­come the home of a bor­ough busi­ness that is ex­pand­ing.

A busi­ness called Turn 5 is dou­bling its work force and, from 3 to 8 p.m. Thurs­day ac­cepted ap­pli­ca­tions for new part-time and full-time po­si­tions pay­ing be­tween $14 to $16 per hour.

Lee-Clark is also shep­herd­ing the plan for the re-de­vel­op­ment of land along Key­stone Boule­vard — 255 acres of land on 13 dif­fer­ent parcels be­tween West High Street and the Schuylkill River— to­ward ap­proval by both the bor­ough and West Pottsgrove town­ship. The plan builds on: • a re­gional mar­ket as­sess­ment in 2012 which es­ti­mated de­mand for land uses in the Pottstown re­gion through 2031;

• a fis­cal anal­y­sis in 2012 which warned that West Pottsgrove should tran­si­tion away from re­ly­ing on its land­fill fee re­serves to close bud­get deficits and gen­er­ate more tax rev­enue;

• a 2012 in­dus­trial zone ac­cess study;

• and the bor­ough’s eco­nomic strate­gic plan, adopted in 2008.

It rec­om­mends the ex­ten­sion of Key­stone Boule­vard through West Pottsgrove to Old Read­ing Pike which would pro­vide easy ac­cess of the newly con­structed Route 422 in­ter­change at Grosstown Road.

First out­lined in May, the Key­stone Em­ploy­ment and Eco­nomic Plan for the area is now ready for adop­tion and calls for in­dus­trial, re­search and de­vel­op­ment, of­fice and res­i­den­tial el­e­ments.

It is es­ti­mated it could cre­ate as many as 5,400 jobs and pro­vide $10 mil­lion in ad­di­tional tax rev­enues for both the Pottstown and Pottsgrove school dis­tricts, as well as the bor­ough and West Pottsgrove.

Known as a “spe­cific plan,” the KEEP pro­posal is pre­sum­ably at­trac­tive to de­vel­op­ers who agree with its pa­ram­e­ters be­cause it re­duces the amount of en­gi­neer­ing and land de­vel­op­ment process re­quired be­fore build­ing can be­gin, thus re­duc­ing “soft” de­vel­op­ment costs.

Mon­day night, coun­cil, which raised no ques­tions or ob­jec­tions Wed­nes­day night, will vote on whether to adopt the plan.

EVAN BRANDT — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Cre­ative Health CEO An­drew Trenta­coste, right, out­lines plans for the new struc­tured res­i­dence fa­cil­ity.

EVAN BRANDT — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

One po­ten­tial de­vel­op­ment for the Key­stone Boule­vard area near the in­ter­sec­tion with Route 100 in the bor­ough.

EVAN BRANDT — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Aaron Repucci, left, of Cat­a­lyst Com­mer­cial De­vel­op­ment, shows coun­cil a ren­der­ing of the up­graded High Street site.

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