From the Phoenix Steel Site blog:
Phoenixville Borough Council Borough Council gave unanimous approval to the proposed downtown development in project, which when complete, will bring new retail development to the downtown. The Council approved by a 7-0 vote, with Dana Dugan not in attendance, to approve the development which features 80,000 square feet of retail, 275 apartments and 30,000 square feet of office space.
The two hour meeting had the council members questioning how the development would mesh into the downtown. Concerns were voiced as how the development would impact the fire safety of the borough, the way finding program and the street music program. The development was also praised by developers as a progressive attempt on behalf of the borough to spur development at the abandoned Phoenix Steel site property.
Developer Manny DeMutis and attorney Michael B. Murray presented the plan and praised the boroughs efforts to make the project happen by offering a LERTA tax abatement project. "The LERTA was a big deal when it came to planning the project" he said, "In the days of very competitive financing arrangements the borough took a big step by saying you are open for business by offering the LERTA" he added.
The project calls for a new street to be constructed along the French Creek which will be bound by Ashland and Main Streets, the project will fill the 400 linear foot gap on the north side of Bridge Street between 101 Bridge and the Phoenix Cycle Shop. "This will complete the streetscape on the 100 block of Bridge Street. We are replicating the Iron Hill development which we completed in 2006 with historically sensitive infill development." DeMutis said.
The project will differ from others as the residential component will be rental and the commercial units will be for sale. "We will be offering the retail units for sale to ensure that many of the retailers will be able to purchase the retail space and remain part of the Phoenixville community for years to come", DeMutis stated. "We will be seeking to locate and organic food market with perhaps a direct farm to shelve retail connection by utilizing partnerships with some of the local farmers. We will attempt to fill the gaps that are located in the downtown mix.", he concluded.
This is a horrible idea. How about fixing up the remainder of downtown and figuring out a way to keep retail there, instead of having shops open for a few months that can't get any business.
First it’s the green space people. People don’t take care of the parks we have. There is always litter in the parks and not many people seem to use them. If you care so much organize people and clean up the existing green spaces.
To all the people who complain about the existing unoccupied retail spaces. The only way retail is going to thrive in the down town is if there is more of it and good retailers. Right now there are very few people shopping the down town because there is no wide drawl. Bring in a Gap or other mid range retailer to draw people in.
Lastly stop criticizing, you don’t own the land. If you cared so much you could have all banded together and purchase it and do what you want with it be it a green space or retail store.
How about lending your support instead of running your mouth
I have nothing to gain from the Steel Site being built. Except that I want Phoenixville to survive.
I will say this once again the only way for retail to work in Phoenixville is to have enough of it and quality stores so that people will come out of their way to shop in Phoenixville.
There are quality stores in Phoenixville but there are not enough of them to drawl existing shoppers away from the Mall. We need shops similar to what they have in Manayunk.
To conclude that this development would make traffic worse is unfounded. According to the plans they would be adding new streets that would make traffic flow better. If anything is impeding traffic it’s Produce Junction.
Another problem with traffic is the cars turning right on red from Starr St going towards Mont Clare. I am sitting at the green light but I can't go because 10 cars went right on red.
One idea whose time has come would be to market the entire retail space proposed to local retailers committed to locally-made and/or handmade goods or cooperative retailing: furniture, clothing, jewelry, soaps, ceramics, woven items (llama, sheep, etc.), food products, hand-forged iron, recycled items or newly-remade items (eg. locally-reupholstered furniture utilizing artisan hand-painted fabrics, lamps, and antiques, in addition to new items that recycle plastics, glass, machinery, etc.), art galleries, and all artisan products including quality, world-class art that is created in visual Arts Buildings right in our area in Norristown and Reading. Get ideas flowing on upstarting a unique and different marketplace with quality items made by local citizens. Make some of the space available as art studios, workshop spaces, live/work spaces, get people excited to work at the old steel mill every day. Cooperative stores can be enormously successfully operated and manned by their own members on alternate days, for example, women’s clothing and accessories can be multiple clothing makers or entrepreneurs who make their own new items, remake items, or make items from recycled materials. Independent cooperative retailers bring a lot of enthusiasm, eg. vintage items repainted or reworked to be shabby-chic and upscale. Also, there are already many wonderful makers of hand-crafted furniture and household-items in our area; they are usually present every year at the historic home show in Valley Forge. Outreach to these local artists and artisans. Attract a technical school to Phoenixville, and plan some part of the marketplace at the steel mill for locally-fabricated items in metal (doors, windows, household items, etc.). This cooperative could be a kiosk area, or plan conventions for metal-fabricated items made locally or other items locally-manufactured. Chain-stores are great at the local malls, but what is unique about the retailing at the old steel mill is what will bring in much-needed jobs and visitors, and boost the local revenue and economy of Phoenixville. Phoenixville's own citizens can get their imaginative ideas racing on how to capture a different, local retail market much appreciated by those eager to support American-made goods, items attractive to both retailers and buyers in that they support local workers and the local economy of Phoenixville.