Apartments, Commercial Space Proposed In Doylestown

Peter Blanchard

DOYLESTOWN, PA — A developer has presented plans to redevelop an industrial property on North Broad Street into a modern, mixed-use project.

Jason Duckworth, president of the Philadelphia-based Arcadia Land Company, presented preliminary sketch plans for commercial space, apartments and a parking garage at 280 N. Broad Street to the Doylestown Township Planning Commission Wednesday night.

The site is currently occupied by the Tilley Fire Equipment Company. The developer presented two designs, the first of which proposes demolishing the building to create a new 7,000 square foot mixed-use space —the design of which was inspired by the Doylestown Agricultural Works building — that could be used for a restaurant, gym or brewery:

The first floor of the building pictured left would be reserved for a commercial tenant, with three stories of apartments above it.
The first floor of the building pictured left would be reserved for a commercial tenant, with three stories of apartments above it. The five-story structures on the right are apartments and a parking garage. (Arcadia Land Company)

The second proposal, seen below, shows what the project would look like if the existing 8,500 square foot building was repurposed for commercial use:

Alluding to a joint plan crafted by the township and borough in the early 1990s that called for "A new vision for Broad Street," Duckworth said his project shares that same vision for a modern, walkable Broad Street corridor. While the site is industrial in character, it has the potential to be part of a pedestrian environment, Duckworth said, noting that the intersection of State and Main streets is about a 10-minute walk away.

The project could include anywhere from 150 to 180 market-rate apartments of varying units, Duckworth said.

Evan Stone, executive director of the Bucks County Planning Commission, said the project is consistent with a growing trend in Bucks County and nationwide as demand for commercial space plummets due to an increase in remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"You're likely to see these underperforming commercial centers are going to reimagine themselves and incorporate residential," Stone said.

The property is split between Doylestown Township and Doylestown Borough, which means the project will need approval from both municipalities. The plans have not yet been presented to borough planners.

Duckworth emphasized that the sketch plans are preliminary and that he welcomes input from planners and the community.

"My company firmly believes our projects improve with the input of the public," he said.

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This article originally appeared on the Doylestown Patch