Councilman Weiner joins community in opposing Stoltz proposals in Greenville & Brandywine Hundred
$750 million development plan proposed
Project includes 12-story residential tower in Greenville
By Jesse Chadderdon
Staff Reporter Community News
Posted Tuesday, April 1, 2008
A single developer has submitted five large-scale New Castle County development plans valued at more than $750 million combined, including one which calls for the construction of a 12-story residential tower in Greenville.
Stoltz Real Estate Partners, based in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., filed the proposals with the county last week, prompting surprise among civic leaders and county officials over their scope.
“This is unprecedented as far as I know,” said Dan Bockover, president of the Civic League for New Castle County. “We’re waiting for more details on each project, but there’s no question it’s a bold move on their part.”
Stoltz is proposing:
•A $525 million mixed-use redevelopment of the DuPont Barley Mill Plaza office complex at the intersection of Rt. 141 and Lancaster Avenue. The plan calls for 1.48 million square-feet of office space, 731,250-square-feet of retail space, including stores, restaurants and a hotel and 738,150-square-feet of residential space.
•The $80 million Shoppes at Brandywine Valley – a town center at the southwest corner of Concord Pike and Beaver Valley Road that would be anchored by a Whole Foods Market. The project calls for 237,000-square-feet of “high-end” retail space, along with 27,000-square-feet of office space and 36 residential units totaling 100,000-square-feet.
•A $19 million expansion of Greenville Center which would add a 12-story, 60,000-square-foot residential building to the retail complex already there. An additional 22,235-square-feet of retail space and 12,800-square-feet of office space are also planned to be added to the site.
•A $7 million addition of a 36,500-square-foot office building to the existing Columbia Gas complex at 20 Montchanin Road.
•A $100 million New Castle Town Center at the Parkway Gravel site at Rt. 273 and Churchmans Road, which will feature 524,000-square-feet of retail.
Brad Coburn, managing director for Stoltz, said collectively the projects would create as many as 8,000 permanent jobs, while generating $14 million in annual real estate tax revenue for the county.
He said he believes each of the proposals is consistent with the kind of mixed-use development the county’s comprehensive plan encourages.
But Councilman Robert Weiner (R-Chatham), a leading advocate of mixed-use, transit-oriented development in the county, questioned whether the plans in his district fit within the character of the surrounding community. He said that while the 12-story tower proposed for Greenville Center would provide sufficient density to encourage mass transit, he believed it clashed with its surroundings.
“I intend to work very closely with the Kennett Pike Association and the area communities to make sure their voices are heard,” he said. “I think a building of this size is out of character in the Greenville village. It creates the sense of a loss of privacy for a tall building to be looming over private residences which surround it.”
Richard Beck, acting head of the Kennett Pike Association, could not be reached for comment.
Weiner said that while he has yet to review the formal plan, he also took issue with the Shoppes of Brandywine Valley proposal. An early version of the plan was rejected by the community last Fall because of traffic concerns.
“It seems to me they added three dozen town homes so they could call it a mixed-use development and make the claim that traffic will stay internal,” he said. “They’re using all the right language, but it there doesn’t seem to be enough residential there to fulfill its mixed-use promise.”
The site, which is zoned residential, would need to be rezoned to allow the town center-style development there. Weiner said the county’s comprehensive plan called for high-density residential development at the site – a concept community leaders said they would support.
“Additional commercial would just cannibalize the existing commercial locations on Concord Pike,” he said. “There’s already enough commercial on the corridor, what we need is more residential to support it.”
Charles Landry, president of the Council for Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred, said he too was skeptical of the plan.
“It seems to me that all they did was increase the size of the commercial space, increase the size of the office space, add some residential units and say it was going to have less of an affect on the traffic,” he said. “Not having seen the plan, I can’t imagine how you can make it larger in every way and get a better result.”
Landry said the proposal would be the main topic of the group’s May 8 meeting at Talley Middle School.
Coburn defended the traffic plan.
“Our new proposal does not restrict turning movements from Concord Pike and Naamans Road,” he said. “Instead, it interconnects Thompson’s Bridge Road and Rocky Run Parkway, providing for better traffic flow in the area. Because the Shoppes at Brandywine Valley is a mixed use project, traffic will not follow a traditional morning and evening rush hour but will cycle throughout the day, helping the project integrate into the existing community.”
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