With No Tenant Named, Wynnewood Restaurant Plans Are Unclear

The space is being heavily marketed, and would ideally be open until 2 a.m., according to Federal Realty's development manager.

A restaurant tenant has yet to be identified for the vacant postal service spot in the Wynnewood Shopping Center, but nearby residents are eager for details as the center’s owners move forward with a basic plan for the space. 

Federal Realty Investment Trust met with Shortridge Civic Association Tuesday night to present rudimentary plans for the demolition of the existing postal service building and the construction of a 6,500-square foot restaurant in the old postal space next to Giant.

While no lease for the space has been signed, Federal Realty is moving through the Lower Merion Township land development process in hopes that securing necessary approvals ahead of time will make the space more attractive to potential tenants. 

Federal Realty's preliminary land development plan for the space, which includes an outdoor dining section, goes before the Planning Commission on Feb. 4 and will go before the Building and Planning Committee of the Board of Commissioners on Feb. 13.

David Joss, development manager for Federal Realty, told Shortridge Civic members on Tuesday that the company hopes to find a restaurant with a liquor license to fill the space, but finding a tenant has been difficult.

Joss declined to describe many specifics on the type of restaurant to which Federal Realty is marketing, but did espouse a vision of a family-friendly environment with outdoor dining and alcohol available.

As residents pressed for details, Joss assured that the company is not seeking a raucous bar atmosphere, nor are they looking at fast food restaurants for the space, given the absence of drive-through lanes in the sketch plans.

Residents’ concerns centered on the potential consequences of a restaurant with a 2 a.m. closing time located so close to a residential area—a concern that comes on the heels of a recent battle with Federal Realty to reduce the proposed hours of operation at an upcoming LA Fitness gym in the center's old Borders building.

In that situation, LA Fitness eventually reached an agreement with the civic, reducing the proposed hours of operation from 24-hours to a closing time of 11 p.m. weeknights, with an earlier closing time on weekends.

"I can tell you right now that what LA Fitness agreed to ... wouldn't work for a restaurant," Joss said, adding that the restaurant that moves in would "ideally" be open until 2 a.m.

Commissioner Cheryl Gelber, who was present along with Board President Liz Rogan, encouraged residents to attend the township meetings on Feb. 4 and Feb. 13 to voice their thoughts. 

Amanda Mahnke February 02, 2013 at 07:15 AM
No signs of anyone, yet. The spot is still listed as vacant on the Federal Realty website.
Josh February 02, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Those people are thousands of eyeballs, and local. So medical offices, drive thru service, children's oriented, how about a mini strip of 3/4 smaller stores in the same facade of the other side of center... Being a long term resident I have seen what survives and does not, as well as experience in the area first hand and looking for space myself. Geez / how about a drive thru electronics recycling center, goodwill. That's far out for here, of course, but LM could also use this as a mini multi use municipal station of sorts making the hood safer and provide services of all Types. Wow- almost like the space was being used for !
Brian A. February 02, 2013 at 10:31 PM
We sure don't. The employees aren't bad but the store layout is frustrating and illogical, and the prices don't seem that great.
Josh February 04, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Low visibility, residents not happy, no takers... A book store ? Radio Shack ? All joking aside, sounds like a 'destination' business is really about it. Like Goodwill, a chain establishment with deeper pockets , a book store would be great but just isn't happening these days. Mixed use offices are a good way to go, though we lose the alcohol revenue as a township. Seems like a post office sort center made a lot of sense, huh. Make us go into havertown , no offense but that was a silly decision.
Josh March 02, 2013 at 03:45 PM
In my search I have found almost no good property under 20$ per square foot. How can a business owner pay 5-8k a month in rent alone before all other costs, and succeed? Even in places like king if prussia with massive foot traffic the cost can be had around 8-12 (parking is the spread) Something has to give in LM. I personally know 3 solid biz owners, with money, who must locate elsewhere with 'cutting edge' store fronts. This is making 'elsewhere' vibrant, hip, profitable - raises the others tax base- not ours - all drawing from the same customer base from the main line. LM misses out. The property owners do not care about our community- they will keep stores vacant forever.


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