SANATOGA PA – Three years ago, the collection of mostly vacant store fronts in the shopping center that sits at the corner of North Charlotte Street and School Lane had been given a hopeful, upscale label: “The Shops At Ringing Rock.” There haven’t been shops there for years, though; the plaza’s sole occupant is a busy, 24-hour Planet Fitness franchise that occupies only its northern quarter.
Lower Pottsgrove’s solicitor, and the president of its engineering firm, both think that’s soon due to change.
The plaza has new owners, according to Bursich Associates’ President Scott Exley, whose company provides the township’s engineering services. It is now working with New Jersey-based Parke Bank, whose staff “is very well put together; a well-versed team” that wants to bring in new tenants and make the center successful, he told the Board of Commissioners earlier this month.
Solicitor R. Kurtz Holloway, who is working with Parke Bank’s legal team, advised commissioners he too is “very optimistic” about the plaza’s future. “They truly understand the process” involved in commercial development, Holloway observed, “and they’ve been enthusiastic about getting back to me when I needed them.”
The entity that now holds the property, 1400 N. Charlotte Rd. LLC of Philadelphia, was scheduled to appear Tuesday night (Aug. 20, 2013) before the township Zoning Hearing Board to seek permission to mount a new pylon sign in the plaza on behalf of Planet Fitness.
Commissioners were generally pleased by both reports. The lack of development activity at the plaza has long been a concern, they said.
The center was built in 1971, Montgomery County property records show. The 81,000-square-foot building is located on 8.04 acres, and over a period of decades has been home to a former hardware-and-lumber retailer called Rickel’s, and a former supermarket, Genuardi’s. In 2010 it briefly was considered, then rejected, by the Food Lion grocery chain as a home for what was then its new line of Bottom Dollar-brand supermarkets.
The center’s location faces several traffic issues. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in 2008 expressed worry about the intersection of North Charlotte, School Lane and Orlando Road. Dangerous road angles and limited sight lines have made it a spot for earlier jams and accidents, PennDOT said.
To avoid future problems, the agency said it wants the plaza’s owners or developers to, over time, install a left-turn lane on southbound North Charlotte at School and put a signal light there too, to manage traffic flow.
Exley reported the bank is already discussing those issues with PennDOT, while working to attract new tenants. Although major road improvements are not expected initially, they will be a requirement, he noted.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Aug. 5 meeting):
- Township Officials Optimistic About Plaza’s Prospects
- Four Face Charges In Township Pizza Delivery Robberies
- Antonelli Institute Looks To Expand On Industrial Highway
- Meet ‘Unlucky,’ An Object Of Woe In This Township Tale
- Township Commends Officer For ‘Exceptional’ Work
- Wilcox, Foltz Receive County’s Disaster Training Awards
Top photo from Planet Fitness of Pottstown
Bottom photo from Montgomery County