malvern’s hulking development

malvern-2Focus on Malvern Borough continues.  The past couple of weeks I have been through Malvern Borough a lot.  Just the luck of the draw. But driving up King  past the “magnificence” being created by Eli Kahn and David DellaPorta is enough to give me nightmares.

This development which they are pretentiously calling Eastside Flats is unimaginative and looks like hulky, looming Lego buildings that are creating a complete canyon effect in tiny Malvern.

Of course on their  artist renderings it is a veritable Vahalla with sweeping land and streetscapes.  The reality is the street is narrow and at night it is the same canyon effect and feel that you get on dark streets in downtown Manhattan…only this is Chester County.

rendering

There is nothing about what is being built that truly ties into the quaint Borough of Malvern.  The horse is out of the barn, so no bells can be un-rung, but lordy is what is being constructed ugly with a capital U. And I can’t wait to say I told you so on the parking. I predict it will be a problem upon completion.  It looks like a problem now but I am just a mere mortal and a female. I feel sorry for any house or pre-existing small business that has to exist with this development.

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And oh yes, the Whip has bailed so there is no cute anchor restaurant at present:

The Whip Owner Cites Design Flaws in East King Decision

‘We were really excited about Malvern,’ said tavern owner Casey Kulp, who last year had considered moving into the borough.

By Pete Kennedy Email the author March 11, 2013

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The owner of The Whip Tavern in Unionville said design shortcomings were behind his decision to cancel plans to open a second location on Malvern’s East King Street.

In a phone interview, Casey Kulp cited an insufficient kitchen ventilation system as one of the reasons he decided against opening in Malvern, after expressing interest in the idea in 2012….

In a recent interview, Kahn declined to comment on the circumstances of the change in The Whip’s plans.

Kulp said he thinks they’ll have a difficult time getting restaurants into the space

And speaking of restaurants, what is the deal with parking at The Great American Pub at 516 King Street in Paoli?  As in how do they have sufficient parking? We almost went there last week for a quick bite to eat but opted against it because the only place to park was in that small neighborhood adjoining the restaurant and we did not want to take up residents’ parking at dinner time.

What municipality is that in?  Willistown? Wow they sure approach things in a very interesting manner don’t they?  They deny Woodlawn a business expansion in an existing structure on their property with ample parking yet they allow The Great American Pub to act like a bar leech and take all parking of a small neighborhood? The parking is a hot mess and I wonder exactly where the valets are dumping cars, don’t you?

Circling back to the original topic, one more article on Malvern’s development atrocity. Somewhat of a fluffy article from the Inquirer that buys David DellaPorta’s New Urbanism Fairy Tale hook line and sinker. (He has been spouting it for years every time he proposes anything.)  Malvern isn’t the town time forgot, it is a little borough that has a borough council that was dumb enough to think supersizing will fix all woes. Urbanization of exurbia.  Oh yeah, so fabulous because we all want to live in the inner city, right?  They are just doing suburban sprawl of a different kind.

Malvern apartment complex nears completion after 10 years in the works

By Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer

Posted: February 05, 2013

The developer calls Malvern “the town that time forgot” – its main street lined with Victorian-style houses, small boutiques, and local watering holes like the Flying Pig Saloon.

But Eli Kahn and his partners are betting that a $45 million apartment and retail complex on East King Street will help satisfy urban appetites in one of the region’s most venerable suburbs – and entice empty nesters and young professionals looking for a citified environment outside the city.

Construction on the East King Street redevelopment project began in June and includes two large apartment buildings with 190 units, plus first-floor retail space that Kahn envisions renting to restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques. The complex, due for completion in August, also is to house a Whole Foods grocery.

Kahn and his partner, David Della Porta, spent several years buying 11 parcels on the site, and the project has been a decade in the making. A house on one small parcel remains because an elderly resident didn’t want to leave her home and declined to sell, Kahn said.

Kahn said developments such as his – projects that emphasize urbanization over suburban sprawl – could be the wave of the future in the region…

On Thursday, Kahn sidestepped mud puddles and several employees in hard hats as the wind whipped around the corner of the almost-completed apartment complex. Construction was slightly behind schedule because of a cold snap followed by windy weather, but Kahn was optimistic.

“This has been a 10-year journey,” he said. “It’s incredibly satisfying, to add to a little town like Malvern. It’s exciting.”

This development in Malvern has never in my humble opinion really been about the town of Malvern.  If this was really about the town, the design would have been more complimentary.  This project is all about developer pork and profit.  Let’s not delude ourselves to the contrary. What will eventually happen here is people will start to avoid going through Malvern like they are starting to avoid going through Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, and even Wayne because of a lack of parking and congestion.

3 thoughts on “malvern’s hulking development

  1. I have *already* started avoiding going through Malvern, and I think it’s just going to get worse. The only bright spot in all of this is that we’ll have a Kimberton Whole Foods in there; my plan is to WALK to it when I want to shop there, and avoid the headaches of traffic and parking. I also agree with you that the new development is starting to cause the canyon effect on King Street, which is indeed making it feel a bit more like certain neighborhoods in NYC. It all seems to be a very bad idea, much worse than the merely laughable bad idea of the raised brick curb Malvern put in the middle of a traffic lane on King Street — the one they ultimately had to ornament with a reflective barrel to keep cars from hitting it — and which has (thankfully) been demolished in the wake of the Kahn/DellaPorta complex.

  2. Pingback: malvern canyon | chestercountyramblings

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