Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Residential Construction Underway in West Chester, PA

New residential construction is underway in West Chester, PA, near the Charles A. Melton Arts & Education Center.

Pinckney Hill Commons, previously known as the Melton Center Apartments, will have 10 townhomes plus a four-story, 41-unit apartment building. The townhouses, which include an attached garage, will be three or four bedrooms.

The nearly $16 million project of mixed-income rentals on a 1.39-acre lot will cater to families with members who have mobility, hearing, and visual impairments. Planned amenities in the apartment building include a community room, library, laundry, management offices, and on-site supportive services.

The existing Charles A. Melton Arts & Education Center will remain on Lot 1 and residents will have access to its programming. The project is expected to be completed in 2021.

Swarthmore College Dining Hall Project Underway

Right now, college students who are on campuses across the country have been told to adhere to social distancing and follow other safety precautions. Dining options are modified for students protection, as well.

But as Swarthmore College students follow those rules this fall, the  Swarthmore College Sharples Dining Hall Addition & Community Commons project is building with its eye on a return to eating and socializing in a communal space.

The project will add 40,000 square feet to the dining hall, in an attempt to meet the needs of a growing student population and more dining options. It will also create a communal space for staff and students to relax and socialize. Construction is underway.

Demolition of the Phi Psi building at 5 Sharples Lane is complete, and the excavation for the basement space is underway.  The design aims to be a net-zero building. When completed, that basement can be the location for  a geothermal exchange plant to service the entire campus, which would allow the college to act toward its goal of transitioning away from the use of fossil fuels for heating and cooling campus buildings.

Phase 1 of this two-phased project, the completion of the dining hall addition, is expected to be done in June 2022. The entire project has an anticipated completion date of August 2023.

Senior Living and Luxury Apartments Coming in Montgomery County, PA

Site work continues in Bala Cynwyd, PA, where the historic Lees Shoddy Mill makes way for a modern senior living facility on the 4.8-acre site. A six-story, 84-unit, 96-bed apartment building will take the place of the former mill built in the 1800s.

The apartment building will include various amenities such as libraries, a fitness center, a computer space, rehabilitative and memory services and a small park for community use. There will also be 68 parking spaces. 

Continued delays leave the target date for vertical construction unknown.

Elsewhere in Montgomery County, construction has yet to begin on a five-story building of luxury apartments in Lansdale. The $35-40 million project on a four-acre site will include 205 units and various amenities. A creek will run around the building and parking lot. Completion is expected by April 2022.

World’s Largest Gene and Cell Therapy Facility Planned in PA

Plans are underway for Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CMB), a 680,000 square-foot gene and cell therapymanufacturing facility at the Discovery Labs in Upper Merion Township, PA. CBM would be the largest gene and cell therapy manufacturing facility in the world. The $500 million Discovery Labs include customizable lab space. The campus, which is being used by some companies during renovations, is expected to add a hotel for visiting scientists and medical collaborators, as well as a restaurant and other amenities.

Used for research, development, and commercialization of therapies, the ambitious CMB requires $1.1 billion in funding. When the plan was announced, some believed raising that amount of money was unrealistic, but there will no doubt be more interest in medical research and development thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic. And the interest and need for such work will require more facilities.

The CBM will be built in the former GlaxoSmithKline lab space. Plans call for the hiring of 2,000 people over the next two and a half years.

Pennsylvania to Restart Construction May 1

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf announced that all construction projects can restart on May 1. Non-essential construction was shut down as part of the state’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic on March 21.
The May 1 date is a week earlier than Wolf’s original green light for construction. As of Wednesday’s statements from Wolf, construction sites will be opened before the rest of the state, which is still scheduled to start a multi-phased reopening on May 8.
Wolf emphasized that federal and state health guidelines must be followed as businesses slowly reopen and any flare-up of coronavirus cases could lead to closing things down again.

Pennsylvania Governor Shuts Down All Non Life-Sustaining Businesses

The governor of Pennsylvania has increased the state’s response to attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus–ordering the closure of all businesses that aren’t “life-sustaining.” Philadelphia is included in this order. The order goes into effect Saturday and will be enforced, Governor Tom Wolf said.

The governor’s office posted a detailed list of businesses, stating which are allowed to continue operations and which are not. All construction is to shut down.

Construction Can Continue as Pennsylvania Shuts Down Non-Essential Businesses

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday March 17
The city of Philadelphia and entire state of Pennsylvania announced Tuesday that it was shutting down all non-essential businesses in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. General construction services, however, were among the exceptions of work being shut down. Building maintenance and household repairs, including HVAC and utility work, were also exempted.

Medical Marijuana Sparks Facilities Construction

Construction of medical marijuana facilities and distribution centers has become a consistent piece of industry business in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  And as legalizing recreational marijuana is discussed in state legislatures throughout the country, there is growing possibility that more of these facilities will be needed.

Right now there are four projects either in planning or under construction in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In October, a project was completed in Chester, PA.

There are specific considerations when building such a facility, according to the Cannabis Business Times, including designing for the proper air flow and humidity and availability of power and water. And of course, as with any construction, location is key.

In Green Township, NJ, discussions are underway about what to do with the Trinca Airport Redevelopment site. A medical marijuana facility is a possibility, although critics say it would violate the Drug Free School Zone laws. A solar farm is also an option there.

Meanwhile, a spring 2020 target date has been set for a 70,000-square-foot Agronomed Medical Marijuana Growing & Processing Facility on a nearly nine acre site in Chester, PA; the Harmony Foundation Medical Marijuana Facility at the Merck Site in Lafayette, NJ, has a target date in the third quarter of this year; and applications for a final site plan have been approved for a project in Rochelle Park, NJ.

The Harmony job consists of two-story, 282,000-square-foot facility with one existing building on the site renovated for administration, research and development space. Two lanes of roadway will also be added in an attempt to reduce any added traffic.

In Rochelle Park, the plan calls for a medical marijuana facility of more than 7,000 square feet in a space currently occupied by an antique store. In addition, there would be construction of a six-story self-storage facility with more than 120,000 square feet at the site of an existing retail center.

Plans Continue To Turn Open Space into Parks in NJ and PA

The beginning of 2020 has seen a commitment from local government to turn open space into parks throughout the area.

In Mercer County, NJ, the county park commission approved a plan for the Miry Run Ponds Passive Park at Dam Site 21. The proposal covers the cleanup and conversion of 279 acres of county-owned space spanning Hamilton, Robbinsville and West Windsor. It will be turned into a passive recreation park with trail, walkways, playgrounds, a kayak launch and plantings to buffer nearby homes from the park.

In northern NJ, the Hoboken major reiterated the city’s commitment to coming to terms on a deal that would allow the conversion of the 3.15 acres of Union Dry Dock property into a waterfront park.

And in Eastern Delaware County, PA, the county council has declared that 30 acres of open space is OK for park use. The county released the Rosa Tree Park at Little Flower Manor Open Space Master Site Development Plan in Darby Borough. The master plan includes picnic groves, a walking trail connection to the Darby Creek Trail at the Woodburne Mansion property, as well as a community garden and an education center. An engineering study on the restoration of the historic 49,000 square foot Woodburne Mansion located on the property has not yet been completed

Pennsylvania Adds Funds for Construction Projects; Governor Pushes for Infrastructure Funding Program

January brings many state-of-the-state addresses by governors, who announce their priorities and budget plans for the coming year. In Pennsylvania, however, many counties didn’t have to wait for 2020’s speech to know some money was coming their way for infrastructure and construction needs. On December 30, Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of more than $5 million in funding through the Keystone Communities program for 42 revitalization projects that include construction and business development.

The following funds and projects were included in the governor’s announcement:

Bucks County

  • Quakertown: $50,000 façade grant for a façade improvement program in the designated Keystone Main Street area of Quakertown Borough, benefiting at least ten storefronts.
  • Redevelopment Authority of Bucks County: $50,000 façade grant for a façade improvement program in downtown Bristol, benefiting at least ten storefronts.

Delaware County

  • Lansdowne Economic Development Corp.: $50,000 to assist in the construction of the Lansdowne Maker Space, a 2,500-square-foot tech-based maker space.

Philadelphia County

  • City of Philadelphia: $250,000 for renovations to the Happy Hollow playground at the Happy Hollow Recreation Center in Germantown, to address the failing conditions of the playground and to restructure its layout, install new site furnishings and lighting, replace equipment, purchase and install safety surface material and new outdoor fitness equipment.

Wolf is also hoping his state legislature backs his Restore Pennsylvania multibillion-dollar capital plan that he proposed last year to help with the state’s infrastructure issues. Funding the plan requires a severance tax on natural gas and has met with resistance. Wolf recently tweeted that if the plan gets approved, some of that money can be used to help with the infrastructure issues in Philadelphia schools—including remediating contaminants such as asbestos.

Four Philadelphia schools had to close this school year because of asbestos. The superintendent recently outlined an Environmental Safety Improvement Plan, which will use $12 million in funds from its budget to speed up asbestos abatement in the impacted schools.