Proposal to redevelop office building adjacent to Plymouth Meeting Mall as a residential building

On June 4th, Plymouth Township Council Chair Chris Manero (D) posted on Facebook about a presentation from Keystone Property Group that is to take place during the council’s meeting scheduled for Monday, June 7th at 6:00 p.m. According to Manero, Keystone wants to redevelop the office building adjacent to the mall into a residential building. Keystone is the developer behind SORA West (office building, hotel, etc) on lower Fayette Street in Conshohocken.

From Manero’s post:

502 Germantown Pike… an empty and dormant office building adjacent to the Plymouth Meeting Mall that has been the subject of many redevelopment proposals in recent years.

FROM 2015: “In efforts to attract more talent to the area, a 188,000-square-foot office building just 20 minutes from Center City is about to get a major makeover. Keystone Property Group just announced that it will be redeveloping the nine-story One Plymouth Meeting at 502 West Germantown Pike and turning it into “the workplace of tomorrow.” Some of the building features will include an outdoor courtyard, 9-foot ceilings, a wellness center, modern conference rooms, and open workspaces with 166 work stations.”

2019: SageLife Senior Living seemed to be on the cusp of purchasing the property from Keystone Properties Group and redeveloping it into a mix of independent and assisted living for older adults. The idea was attractive, but the deal never ended up coming together.

NOW: At Monday’s Plymouth Council workshop meeting, attorneys representing Keystone Properties Group will seek discussion between council and Keystone for possible residential development of the property (on a much smaller scale than what has been recently sought by PREIT at the former Ikea office building adjacent to Whole Foods).

Council is committed to seeing action taken throughout this entire mall property that benefits our local economy and also maintains the quality of life for our existing residents. We will continue to work with this mindset as we listen to Monday’s presentation. Monday’s workshop meeting will be held at 6pm in-person at the Plymouth Township Building.

As Manero points out, the building in question has been targeted for redevelopment a couple of times over the past several years. First, it was to be converted into a more modern office building that would be called One Plymouth. When that didn’t move forward, it was targeted for redevelopment as an independent/assisted living facility. Neither proposal moved forward.

Over the past few months there have been a series of zoning hearings inviolving a residential use on the mall property. PREIT, the owner of the mall, is seeking to have the former IKEA headquarters on the edge of the Whole Foods Market side of the mall replaced with a 503 unit apartment community. Plymouth’s council is opposing this application.

The zoning hearings involving PREIT come down to whether the zoning hearing board will consider apartments similar in use to motels and assisted living facilities which are allowed on the property. You can find more details on the PREIT application here.

To go forward, Keystone would have to seek similar relief from the zoning hearing board, or seek a text amendment to the zoning code that council could provide. PREIT originally began the process of seeking a text amendment but dropped that before any hearings were held and instead sought zoning relief through the zoning hearing board.

We will provide any update after the meeting on June 7th.

Transparency Alert

It is Saturday before a Monday meeting and the agenda for the meeting is not available on the township’s website.