Here We Grow Again

5 Projects Set to Change the West Chester Landscape

mosteller
The future home of the 44 West plaza.

It seems lately there has been a lot of development both in and around West Chester. Some projects like 44 West, are well underway, others like, Greystone Elementary, have yet to break ground, but all have major implications for the borough and its residents. From accommodating a diverse population to supporting our students to creating an engaging downtown, each project promises to elevate and evolve our view of town.

44 West

44West4
With six months still left until the big reveal, office space is at capacity for the highly-anticipated 44 West.

Location: South Church and West Gay

Status: Under construction

Envisioned outcome: Mixed-use building with an exterior space for people to gather.

The project: Once home to the Mosteller Department Store then Chester County offices, the building at corner of Church and Gay Street had deteriorated a lot since its glory days in the middle of the last century.  Priming the way for Eli Khan and team’s reenvising of the space. 44 West is 45,000 sq. ft, four-story mixed-use building that will feature three floors of offices and one or two restaurants on the street level. The northwest corner of the lot will feature an outdoor gathering place with year-round fountain. The new building is taking the place of what was once the Mosteller Department store. To make the project happen Borough Council had to first approved variances to the height and parking requirements of the Borough code. Word is all the office space in this highly anticipated new downtown addition is currently leased.  

Next steps: Concrete needs to be poured for the floors. Then masonry work, followed by the placement of windows.

“The construction of Greystone Elementary School is the cornerstone of our plan to provide the necessary space for our elementary students.” 

-Gary Bevilacqua, WCASD board member and chair of the property and finance committee

Greystone Elementary School

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According to the latest figures cited in the Capital Plan, WCASD enrollment stands at 11,928 students and is projected to rise to 12,677 by the 2023-24 school year. Artistic rendering of the south elevation of Greystone elementary. 

Location: Intersection of Route 100 and Greenhill Road

Status: Construction contracts approved

Envisioned outcome: Adequate classroom space for the district’s growing student population

The project: Last week the West Chester Area School District Board of Directors approved $23.6 million to begin construction on the district’s eleventh elementary school. Currently, seven out of 10 elementary schools in the district are using some type of temporary classroom space (either modules or diverted space) and thanks to a spike in housing starts elementary enrollment is only expected to increase over the next 5-10 years. With seats for 588 students, the new school, while not encapsulating all projected growth, will go a long way in helping alleviate strain on classroom space. 

Next steps: Construction on the new school is set to begin October 15.  

Rubenstein’s

Location: 250 East Market Street

Status: Zoning stage

Envisioned outcome: More affordable(ish) housing in the borough

The project: For more than a century Rubenstein’s was the place West Chester went for office supplies. Then three years ago the family sold its retail presence in West Chester to developer Eli Kahn to focus on its B2B business. Today the now vacant office supply store and still operating Salvation Army buildings are stepping towards a residential future with a four-story apartment building planned for the lot. The planned structure will contain 160 efficiency, one- and two-bedroom units with a story of parking below. The units are being described as a “more affordable” living option but critics of the project suggest that just means “smaller.”  

Next steps: The project has a hearing set for October 14 in front of the Zoning Hearing Board. They will be reviewing and voting on the applicant’s request for variances to the borough’s zoning code. If all goes as planned Eli Kahn and company hope to break ground on the new complex late 2020. 

The Old Daily Local Headquarters

Location: 250 North Bradford Avenue

Status: Proposal approved by East Bradford supervisors

Envisioned outcome: More medium-density housing

The project: Two years ago, the Daily Local announced it was leaving its “modern” home it had inhabited since 1970 and moving operations to Uwchlan. The lot was subsequently sold to developers, the Toll Brothers, who found the easily accessible location perfect for a residential development. However, exactly how much development the corner could handle led to much debate among local residents. During their July meeting the East Bradford supervisors finally approved a plan for the lot. After swinging dramatically from the originally proposed 325-unit apartment building to a 270-unit building to 60 townhouses, developers finally had to settle for a 56-unit townhouse development on the five acre property. Traffic was a main concern of the original proposal. 

I have received calls from distressed residents forced to leave West Chester due to rising rents and housing prices.” 

-Mayor Dianne Herrin on the need for more affordable housing options in the borough. 

Housing at the Melton Center

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The Melton Center has raised 2 million toward the 14 million needed to complete its housing project.

Location: 501 E. Miner St. 

Status: Fundraising

Envisioned outcome: More affordable housing in the borough

The project: The Melton Center is getting serious about its plans to offset high Borough housing costs with some more affordable options. Last fall the Center submitted an ambitious proposal, erect 10 townhouses and a four-story 51-unit apartment building on its Miner Street lot. Since announcing their plans they have been in serious fundraising mode, already collecting nearly two million dollars from state and county governments. It’s a good start but still a long way off from the 14 million needed to complete the project.  

Next steps: While continuing to raise money for the project, the Melton Center is beginning to lay the administrative groundwork needed to make the project a reality. On Oct. 16 Borough Council is holding a public hearing with the purpose of rezoning the area as Commercial and allowing for mixed-use development, including affordable housing and community facilities, within the commercial zone. 

But that’s not all..

Not mentioned here, major additions underway at Chester County Hospital and West Chester University; new housing developments at Greystone EstatesTigue Farm, or future the future Crebilly Farms. And then there is the ongoing question of what’s going on with former land at the former Pfizer production plant

Plus, even our parks are changing. Goodbye fire engine, Everhart is getting a new playground.

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