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What’s Next for Mitch’s Gym? Spoiler: It’s More Apartments

Developers held a neighborhood meeting on Tuesday to share plans for a new multi-story apartment complex.

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. 

Elevations presented from left: W. Market and Wayne, W. Market and Potter Alley, view from Wollerton St.
Current corner of W. Market and Potter Alley now and what is envisioned by the architects. Slide to compare.
Current corner of W. Market and Wayne Sts now and what is envisioned by the architects. Slide to compare.


BIG PICTURE: Apartment projects planned for West Chester

Several multi-story apartment complexes are planned over the next 2 years.

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. 


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. 

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