Storage Proposed for North Charlotte Shopping Center

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – A portion of the shopping center at 1400 N. Charlotte St. (at top), which was the former home to a Genuardi’s Family Market that has remained vacant for years, would become a self-storage rental facility under a proposal being discussed by the limited partnership company that owns the property.

The owner, 1400 NCRD LP, earlier this month won special exceptions from the township Zoning Hearing Board needed for the plan to proceed.

Township Manager Ed Wagner confirmed the board approved exceptions for building and lot use regulations during a Jan. 4 (2022) hearing. Its decisions granted permission under the zoning ordinance to allow the storage use within the township’s SC (Shopping Center) zoning district.

Detailed project plans have not yet been submitted to the township Planning Commission, Wagner added. He said he expected they would be filed for commission review this year. Like the zoning hearing, its deliberations will be open to the public and free to attend. The proposal also must be finally approved by the township Board of Commissioners.

1400 NCRD LP bought the 8.4-acre property in September 2014 at a price of $4.5 million, according to Montgomery County property records. The property currently houses a Planet Fitness franchise on its north end. The zoning hearing notice indicated its south end, the former supermarket of 65,163 square feet, would become the storage location. The center has an abundance of parking spaces.

The property is fronted on its east side by North Charlotte Street as it climbs the curved hill between Orlando and Maugers Mill roads. On the parcel’s south side is School Lane, the Pottsgrove School District’s non-public entrance to the campus that contains Pottsgrove High and Ringing Rocks Elementary schools, and the district administrative offices.

Genuardi’s was a popular family-owned Norristown-based supermarket whose patriarch began his career in the 1920s selling home-grown produce from a horse-drawn wagon. The chain was sold to Safeway Inc. in 2000. The shopping plaza also was the site of a former Rickel’s Do-It-Yourself Home Center. Rickel’s filed for bankruptcy in the late 1990s.

Residential growth in the township and neighboring municipalities has heightened interest in opening local rental storage spaces. Lower Pottsgrove commissioners during their Oct. 21 (2021) meeting approved

  • A GEG Investments storage project for the west side of North Charlotte just north of Orlando, in the Commercial Office zoning district; as well as
  • An expansion of the existing Moove-In Storage facility on East High Street across from Heritage Drive, in the Sanatoga SC district.

Other supermarkets were among earlier considerations for reviving the center, which at one time was named for the nearby Ringing Hill neighborhood.

Those abandoned proposals involved a now out-of-business chain called Bottom Dollar Foods, and later one from Food Lion LLC. To accommodate their anticipated customers, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation suggested traffic pattern changes near the center that other developers at the time said they considered too expensive.

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