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.