There were a lot of big stories in Conshohocken and West Conshohocken this past year. Below is what we believe to be the Top 10 stories (in no particular order). Let us know your thoughts or what we forgot.
Here they are:
- Voters give approval to redevelopment. 2013 saw an election that returned three incumbents to their seats on Borough Council. All three incumbents supported the redevelopment at West Elm and Fayette (hotel, office building and parking deck) and the proposed apartment communities.
- Riverfront takes on new look. There were three major additions to the riverfront in 2013. Already open are a dog park and helipad and the Conshohocken Rowing Center is under construction.
- Totaro’s closes and Bar Lucca opens. Totaro’s, the neighborhood bar that transformed itself into a fine dining establishment over a 50 year run closed its doors at the start of the 2013. The StoneRose’s Brian Pieri bought the building and rehabbed the space into Bar Lucca.
- Wawa voted down. Back in April Borough Council voted 6-1 against changing the zoning code to allow for a Wawa to be built at East 11th and Fayette. Until just recently it was a waiting game on how Wawa would respond. In October, Wawa submitted the paperwork for a hearing before the Zoning Hearing Board. The hearing was to take place in December, but was postponed until January 2014.
- Apartments, apartments and more apartments. During 2013, there were three apartment communities proposed in Conshohocken. One, at West Elm and Corson Streets, was approved, and two others on Washington Street are still in the approval process. All together the apartments will add over 1,000 rental units in Conshohocken (within the Borough’s borders).
- Hotel, office tower and parking deck. During 2013 the Borough secured the ownership of the land at the corner of West Elm and Fayette and the old fire house. The Borough issued a RFP to sell the land, fire house and the Verizon Building (which it already owned). There were two proposals submitted and Keystone Properties was selected as the developer to move forward with. Keystone already owns an adjacent office building and a parking deck and proposed to redevelop the properties the Borough included in the RFP and its existing holdings. So during 2014, you will see Keystone seeking a variety of approvals to build a boutique hotel, new office tower (to replace the existing one), an eight story parking deck, public square and a restaurant.
- Verizon Building to get a rehab. As part of the overall redevelopment plan between the Borough and Keystone Properties (see bullet point above), the Verizon Building will be rehabbed and turned into a new Borough Hall and police station. There will also be some additional space for other tenants.
- Parishes could close or be merged. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia released a list in 2013 of parishes that were being studied for closure or merger. All four parishes in Conshohocken and West Conshohocken were listed. The suggestions from the study are to be released in the spring of 2014.
- Lafayette Street Project breaks ground. While this is more directly a Norristown and Plymouth Township story, the expected redevelopment along Conshohocken Road and a potential new ramp off the turnpike near Conshohocken Road and Ridge Pike will have an impact on Conshohocken.
- The US Open takes over Conshy. While the US Open (golf) was held down 476 in Haverford Township, the social aspect of the event was all about Conshy. Many of the players stayed at the Marriott in West Conshohocken and there were numerous sitings around town at various restaurants. This was highlighted when Justin Rose held his post-victory celebration at Gyspy Saloon, which was reported around the world.