The West Manchester Township planning commission heard plans Tuesday for the multi-million-dollar facelift slated for the major mall in its area.
The 32-year-old West Manchester Mall at 1800 Loucks Road is set for a $47 million redevelopment that will change it from an enclosed mall to an outdoor plaza similar to Hunt Valley Towne Center in Maryland.
"It's going to be an overall facelift for the property and bring business back into the mall," said Erin McCloskey, assistant project manager with Bergmann Associates, based in Conshohocken, Montgomery County.
Bergman Associates is working on the project with mall owners M&R Investors, based in Dallas.
Plans include demolishing more than 131,000 square feet of the building, which is currently close to 730,000 square feet. Demolition would include the former Bon-Ton area to make room for parking, loading areas, and aesthetic improvements for the outdoor plaza look, McCloskey said.
A new building addition would be close to 32,800 square feet. Thus, the redeveloped mall would be close to 631,000 square feet.
Tony Ruggeri, co-founder of Dallas-based mall owners M&R Investors, hasn't disclosed which tenants will be part of the new mall, other than the anchor stores remaining.
The mall is anchored by Kohl's, Macy's, Regal Cinemas and Walmart, and all four will remain open during construction.
Planning commission members said they were concerned about equipment trucks' entrance into the construction areas and about possible additional traffic at the redeveloped mall once the project is complete.
They also recommended that developers to determine where trucks will be parked after construction crews are done work for the day.
"Traffic control is the key contention to all this construction," said commission member Patrick Hein.
Kelly Kelch, the township's manager said the traffic changes for the mall project are being done on private property with no impact on other roadways. Reduction in the mall's square footage also will mean more room for traffic.
Kelch said the mall was initially developed with road improvements in place to handle heavy shoppers' traffic. The mall currently does not operate at full-traffic capacity.
No new access to the mall is planned, McCloskey said.
The planning commission recommended that construction trucks use Loucks Road to access the mall site rather than Brougher Road, which is closer to residences and is considered the main roadway leading to the mall.
The commission also agreed to grant waivers on requirements involving sanitary sewer profiles, stormwater infiltration, proximity features and transportation, as the project involves reconfiguring the mall, rather than reconstruction of the building and property.
McCloskey said new sewer plans are not being proposed. A traffic study can be done at a later time, but is not a necessary component for the redevelopment of the mall, Kelch said.
The commission also agreed to waive the preliminary plan phase so that developers can do plan and final approval phases simultaneously to save time.
There is a goal to start redevelopment construction by late spring, McCloskey said.
—Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.