This week, Developer Eli Kahn and partner Gary Toll held a community meeting in a vacant workout studio at the now-defunct Mitch’s Gym. The purpose? To share their proposal for a 181-unit, upscale apartment complex planned for the property and that of its vacated neighbors, in total a 1.75-acre lot.
Eli started the meeting by reminding the crowd of about 35 of his West Chester bona fides. A West Chester University graduate, he started his real estate career right here in the Borough and years ago resided right around the corner at 308 W. Miner Street. Newly married at the time, he and his wife started a family there. Of course, the family no longer resides in the Borough, but Eli continues to leave his mark. The developer and team are responsible for many of the town’s largest buildings including Chestnut Square, 44 West, the county building across the street, and the soon-to-be-moving forward Rubenstein apartment complex.
This building, which will open onto Market Street, is modeled after the very successful Chestnut Square, which has a 100 percent occupancy rate and is what Eli called “the most successful apartment building in the western suburbs.” The design, however, is contemporary, and not all in attendance were impressed. One neighbor called the look “frightening.”
The developers demurred. “We have spent a lot of time on this elevation,” Eli told the crowd of the building inspired by the Loutrel Hotel in Charleston, SC.
- 181 apartments; 10% studios, 60% 1 bedroom, 30% 2 bedrooms
- 5-story building, 2 floors of underground parking; 209 spaces
- Lots of high-end amenities like a pool, gym, yoga studio, and grill stations. No retail.
- The main entrance is at W. Market Street and Potter Alley, a secondary entrance at W. Market and Wayne.
BIG PICTURE: Apartment projects planned for West Chester
This is the third sizeable high-end apartment complex to be presented in the past two years. In total, these developments will add approximately 525 new residences to the Borough (these numbers may shift slightly as plans are finalized). They all provide sufficient parking but will add more traffic. They will increase density while also adding revenue both to the Borough and the school district.
- Burger King – 125 apartments
- Rubensteins – 219 apartments
- Mitch’s – 181 apartments
The developers have submitted their plans and studies to the Borough and expect to present them at the next Planning Commission Meeting. That meeting is scheduled for May 30; no agenda has been released yet. This proposal is “by right,” or in compliance with the Zoning Code. This means there is little to keep the construction from going forward.
Even so, the approval process is expected to take about a year. “End of next year at the earliest we would start,” Eli told the crowd. Construction is expected to take another 20 months after that.