Downtown Retail Study Presented March 29

According to

Mayor Carolyn Comitta and Borough Council President Holly Brown will introduce an economic report entitled Enhancing Retail in Downtown West Chester during a public meeting on Thursday, March 29, starting at 8:00am at the Chester County Historical Society, corner of High & Chestnut Streets. The Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce is hosting the program. Coffee will be available.

The study was developed in January by a panel of 16 professionals, each deemed experts within their respective discipline, under a program of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) of Philadelphia called a Technical Assistance Program or TAP. It is sponsored by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) and the West Chester Business Improvement District (BID). The goal is to provide strategies to enhance the retail environment of downtown West Chester. More than 50 people participated in the study as the panelist gathered information for a comprehensive approach to help strengthen the downtown retail environment.

Members of the TAP Panel will be on hand to present their findings at the public meeting.

The TAP Panel focused on the following questions:

  • what can be done to strengthen the retail mix in downtown West Chester;
  • what obstacles are impeding development downtown;
  • what is the effect of attracting national or regional chains to downtown on current businesses;
  • what is the impact of increased tourism on retail;
  • what design features need to be considered when attracting chains;
  • what recommendations can be made for best practices and implementation strategies, including parking management.

The pending development proposal for the “First Block” around the historic Chester County Courthouse, as well as the impact of high rise mixed-use or residential buildings on the scale and character of downtown development, were also raised as key issues, according to Richard Bickel, co-chair for the TAP Panel.

The study area for the report is the Retail Overlay District. The focus development, which is required for the study, is the proposed Eli Kahn/Jack Loew Development at Gay & Church Streets, part of the First Block. (See the report done in response to a proposed expansion of Chester County government services that ended up finally taking place at the new Justice Center. However, the study provides information on the existing building inventory.)

Admission is free and the public is encouraged to attend. Parking is available at the Chestnut Street Garage, corner of Chestnut and Walnut Streets.


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4 responses to “Downtown Retail Study Presented March 29

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