WEST CHESTER – Preliminary plans call for around 219 apartments to be built on the now vacant site of Rubinstein’s office supply and furniture store and the former Salvation Army thrift store.
Builder Eli Kahn submitted plans to the borough to raze the buildings on the site and build a 60-foot-tall structure, with four stories of apartments. Parking is provided on the ground floor of the 2.4-acre property at 250 E. Market St.
The proposed S-shaped structure would allow for green spaces and natural light.
Kahn and his representatives were not present at the planning commission meeting this week. Housing manager Keven Gore said he was “shocked” Kahn was not present. A representative for Kahn said Wednesday that the developer was unavailable for comment.
Building plans show 39 two-bedroom units, 162 one-bedroom apartments and 19 studios. Facilities include an 1,820 square foot swimming pool, putting green and pétanque court.
The plans indicate that the building is located in a “floodplain risk zone”. Goose Creek passes under the property. No housing units would be built at ground level due to the risk of flooding.
At Monday’s meeting, a planner asked if an underground L-shaped storm drain currently at a 90-degree angle that carries the creek could be modified by the builder.
“We can talk about it, but I don’t know if we can force them to do it,” Gore said.
A member of the planning commission liked the plans.
“I have a very positive feeling for this project,” Allen Burke said.
Plans call for residents and guests to use 231 parking spaces, including 18 spaces located across South Franklin Street.
New parking standards were recently established, with 0.9 spaces required for each unit.
Until recently, 353 spaces would have been required under the previous zoning ordinance for planned apartments on Market Street, 122 more than currently planned.
Burke said rather than start following the borough’s new parking guidelines on a big project, he’d rather start with a smaller one. He fears that users of the planned complex will use existing parking spaces in nearby neighborhoods.
“How many parking spaces do we need to keep the parking lot open and for people who want to live in West Chester?” Burke asked.
The Chestnut Square apartments on Gay Street were built by Kahn. Most residents are entitled to one space per unit free of charge and must pay for additional spaces.
With nearly 100 parking spaces regularly open in Chestnut Square, many residents and their guests park on the surrounding streets.
Planner Thomas Dougherty said while the borough regulates the number of spaces required by a builder, the apartment complex owner assigns parking spaces as desired.
“People (in Chestnut Square) park on the street because it’s subsidized,” Dougherty said. “Taxpayers pay for the street.
The planner suggested possibly increasing the price of parking tickets and charging for parking to bring the cost in line with the amount the borough pays for street maintenance.