pause, downingtown?

  

  
Uhh ohhh, Downingtown. You are a very small borough whose residents had better pay attention now. It has been quite a while since I have heard such develobabble (development babble).

What caught my eye? 

This:

DOWNINGTOWN >> Developers have proposed to create a seven-story parking structure with 72 condo apartments, in place of the Borough lot for public parking.

The plan, called Union Place, is being proposed by Andrew Hicks, owner and president of TriPoint Properties, Inc of Downingtown.

“We are working on preserving our history while also allowing our community to modernize and move forward in a way that is going to attract the next generation of Downingtown residents to our world class schools, restaurants and parks,” Council President Anthony “Chip” Gazzerro…..There will be 72 apartment units.

This includes 58 one bedroom units and 14 two-bedroom units. Parking spaces for the apartment tenants will allocate one parking space per bedroom…..The condo apartments will be known as “The Flats at Union Place.” …..Borough officials said they will determine to accept or decline the bid offer by developers of $325,000 to purchase the property….Council members had recently requested a proposal for public parking. Council members were informed of the parking structure, residential units and retail shop plans during their June 3 meeting and are reviewing the bid. The entity that will own the property during the investment is known as Union Place partners, L.P…

Ok so let us not forget what was in the Philadelphia Business Journal late September, 2014:

Eli Kahn buys 50 acres from Archdiocese

Look I know my opinion is not going to be met with thank you notes and flowers from cash strapped Downingtown Borough, but Downingtown is small, so they need to be careful because the wrong project could overwhelm and cause more issues than good.
They say this project will only be 75 feet tall? With all that they are proposing? Really? 
The plan will only add an additional handful of parking spaces but will add quite a lot of apartments. Any mention of the proposed rental prices? Will they be affordable?
And what is being planned for the former Archdiocese acreage? Any inklings yet?
An RFP for public parking in Downingtown Borough is quite different than this proposed project. This project is a game changer, but not necessarily in a good way.
The developer sharks are circling, is borough blood in the water?
I found  a Draft Comprehensive Plan Update dated 2013 online . Not sure if it is complete yet (it appears to be), but the buzz words and phrases are in there like “higher density”. 
Downingtown is a small country borough, and that is o.k. Not every tiny town out here needs to or should supersize.  
I am not saying  NO development and growth is needed, but projects like this that gobble up things like public parking lots on municipal owned land  (as in taxpayer) which gets turned over or sold to developers does not necessarily work out so well. Tripoint’s thing appears to be acquiring distressed properties but how many projects? Take a good look at their website and properties and what they have done.
Yes, I am jaded when it comes to development and yes, there are very few projects I actually believe in or like, but that doesn’t mean I am anti-development. It means that I honestly have not seen any great projects in a long time.
Look before you leap, Downingtown. This plan is pretty darn dense. And will it ultimately embrace the character of a small town or create a jarring, disproportionate sensation utterly lacking in human scale?

New development creates debate in Downingtown

Last updated: Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 1:08 AM

It would be a big step for the borough, which does not have any buildings as tall as the proposed condo-retail combo…Borough Councilwoman Ann Feldman said the project would not help preserve Downingtown’s character as a “sleepy mill town.”


Below is a rendering of  what this hideous LEGO Land building would look like.
Yuck.
  
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