Brandywine Town Center's Design Changes Receives County & Community Approval; Councilman Weiner's Initiative Applauded by News Journal 8/30/08
Saturday, August 30, 2008 News Journal Editorial Board
Shopping center change makes the best use of evolving retail picture
New Castle County Council's unanimous vote in favor of deed restriction changes for Brandywine Town Center acknowledges the difficulty of devising a successful retail formula during a changing and recessive economy.
Acadia Realty Trust's concession that the current design has been "challenging" is a bit of an understatement.
The imbalance of used and empty retail spaces required a new approach to an original concept that generated community opposition over the 1983 conversion of a harness racing track to commercial retail use.
Now with permission to change the configuration of the shopping complex with the addition of a 45,000 square foot detached building and lease about 6,000 square fee of now-empty space, Acadia has the ability to expand the medium-sized shopping center into a second, but smaller mall on Concord Pike in north Wilmington.
Two undeveloped restaurant pads along the popular walking path that encircles a pond of water fountains will no longer be developed. Reverting them to open space, with more paths and children's area is a mixed used model that hopefully will draw more consumers, despite the quirky access and exits routes for anchor stores.
It's important to point out that this new plan passed the muster of some of the earliest critics of Brandywine Town Center's creation. Civic groups, including the Council of Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred participated in the vetting, which shows a respect for those with lingering disappointment that the original plans for a robust retailer environment have not yet been met.
It's not just goodwill when the Acadia's attorney says, "Nothing is intended to disrupt the character and direction forward of the neighboring communities, and we are committed to being good neighbors."
Ultimately, residential neighbors, as well as remaining retailers have even more of a shared-vested interest in the success of this site. County Council made the best planning decision for these and future economic times.
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