NEWTOWN SQUARE–In the April 2012 edition of the Newtown Township Republican Party newsletter, under "Some New Changes To Look For," a photo of the empty lot located on Clyde Lane and West Chester Pike/Rt. 3 in Newtown Square is pictured with a caption that reads, "Pictured above is the demolished Videon Chrysler Dealership at West Chester Pike and Clyde Lane. This will become the future site for Whole Foods and Marriott Hotel Chain."
Marple Newtown Patch spoke with Manager Mike Trio to get to the bottom of this.
According to Trio, a Whole Foods and a Marriott hotel were already mapped out in the original Ellis Preserve Town Square plan at that location by BPG Development Company, L.P. BPG acquired the 210-acre campus in 2004.
The Whole Foods and Marriott hotel is slated to be located on approximately 13- to 15-acres of land at the empty lot that extends from Clyde Lane to Rt. 3 and down Winding Way.
Trio said BPG has already filed a planning module for development of those two businesses including its sewer plan, which will be reallocated from 's site–located at 3801 West Chester Pike–who will be shutting its Newtown Square location at the end of the month.
"The reallocation for water usage on the property would allow this portion of the proerty to tie into the Marple, Haverford, and Radnor sewer line," said Trio.
However, BPG has been unable to start developing on the land due to a current appeal of Newtown's Planned Residential Development ordinance made by rival developer Claude deBotton, of Newtown Square East. deBotton has filed a lawsuit against Newtown Township's Zoning Hearing Board.
Kaplin Stewart, representing BPG, states on their website about the case:
Mr. de Botton's appeal of the PRD Ordinance prevented BPG from proceeding with its development. BPG, as intervenor in the lawsuit, filed a petition requesting the Court to require Newtown Square East to post a bond as a condition of proceeding with its appeal, based upon the frivolousness of the appeal. Common Pleas Court Judge Chad Kenney found in favor of our client BPG, calling de Botton's appeal to Commonwealth Court both "frivolous and cynical" and said that the appeal was nothing more than a "delaying tactic." On January 25, 2011, Judge Kenney upheld BPG's request for a bond and ordered de Botton to pay $1.3 million monthly during continuation of the appeal. The amount of the bond represents a pro-rated estimation of the damages BPG will suffer by not being able to proceed with the development while the appeal is pending. Such findings are considered very unusual given the high standard for proving an action to be frivolous."
More recently, in February of this year, the Main Line Media News reports deBotton even calling on former senator Arlen Specter to help make Newtown Square East's case in Supreme Court "that the BPG Development Co. town center plan approved in 2008 and planned residential development ordinance passed in 2009 are out of step with the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code."
Trio stated the best-case scenario for the outcome of this case as: "The Supreme Court will decide to deny the appeal and end it. Then, it's done. We can start filing for building permits."