The WC Press Real Estate Issue - January 2015

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“Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.” -George Jean Nathan


COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd Diane LeBold Brad Liermann Jennifer Ozgur DJ Romeo Published By... Mathers Productions 13 South Church Street West Chester, PA 19382 610-344-3463

The WC Press is a monthly magazine distributed free of charge to more than 250 businesses. For a free digital subscription, visit For more information about specific distribution locations, visit


Noting 13 17 25 33 35 43 45 53

Our no-nonsense table of contents

LOCAL TALENT Talking baked bread with Kim Stack of Three Little Pigs VERTICAL LIVING Taking a peek at the new apartment buildings going up in town OWNER OF THE MONTH Tommy Ciccarone is third generation at the helm of Parkway THE LOOK KALY keeps you ahead of the fashion curve GOING UP We preview major upcoming contruction projects BARTENDER OF THE MONTH Erica Brown talks good food and classic cocktails at Pietro’s Prime REINVENTING THE ARMORY Uptown! Entertainment Alliance is renovating a classic PHOTO HUNT Your favorite bar game, only in print





From the


“The problem with real estate is that it’s local. You have to understand the local market.” –Robert Kiyosaki

I typically avoid putting pen to opinion and sharing it with our readers. We’ve all got our own theories, and I’m well aware that nobody opens this magazine to know what I think about fiscall policy. In fact, I’ve historically kept the guidelines of my column the same as the rules I set for myself on a first date: no religion, no politics, and no sex. But this month I’m going to get a little political and hope I don’t insert my own foot so deep in my mouth that I’ll never escape the taste of shoe polish and water repellant. My opinion? I think all this new development is a good thing. If I just lived here, I imagine I’d have little to no interest in the construction along East Market. And if I just worked here, I’d probably be pretty perturbed by the traffic I have to imagine will be building at the intersection of Gay and Matlack come 2016. If I was just passing through, I’d have been furious that Chestnut Street shut down while The Lofts were going up. But I’m not. What I am is somebody who lives, works and owns a business in West Chester. I’m somebody who’s well aware that—as the publisher of an ad-supported magazine—good business is all about making sure everybody else in town is doing good business. Still, this development’s about a lot more than money. Our town is fantastic just the way it is; if I didn’t feel that way, I wouldn’t have elected to move back here. Still, there are a few things it lacks, and much of the current development in this town is going a long way toward fixing that. West Chester, for all its culture, is missing a theatre; the story by Brad Liermann, starting on page 45, describes how large-scale renovation is attempting to tackle that problem. It lacks a grocery store, and Diane LeBold’s new monthly column “Home Grown” discusses how West Chester Food Co-op is developing a solution for that. It lacks a place where I can buy a pair of boots, a casual button-up or some Levi’s, and—in my opinion—The Chestnut Street Lofts, 124 Market Place and Chestnut Square will go a long way towards solving that by supplying this town with a large enough population possessing (hopefully) a desire to spend their disposable income here. That should allow a trendy men’s store and any of a hundred other businesses to flourish in downtown West Chester. I’m no politician, no pundit and certainly not a social scientist. I’m just another 20-something with an opinion and a proficiency for saying things as though they’re fact... even if I lack deep knowledge of the details. But, like many a millennial, I’m excited for what the future holds. As I flip through the pages of this magazine and see all that’s on the horizon for West Chester—despite the ardent opposition many of these projects face—I can’t help but get a little giddy. That’s why I’m breaking my own rules –







PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


Kimberly Stack of Three Little Pigs talks about food, family, fresh bread, and how her business combines all three How long have you been here? 19 years. Have you been running the kitchen that whole time? After my daughter was born,

I leased it to Sheila for six years. She had worked for me from the beginning. She kept the name and the menu? I think she switched up the menu a little bit. I guess that allowed you time with the family. Yes—I only worked for her a couple

days a week.

What time do you have to be here in the morning? Usually 7:30am, and I finish at

2:30pm. My daughter goes to school right up the street at West Chester Friends, so most days I take her there, come here and work, wrap up at 2:30pm and pick her up at 3pm. It only takes you 30 minutes to wrap up? Things drop off at 1:30pm, and I prep

throughout the day. If you open at 10am, do you serve breakfast? We only serve lunch, and some-

times the bread’s not out of the oven until 10:30am—today it’s probably going to be a little later. Customers usually start coming in around 10:30, because they know everything is baked fresh, so we sometimes run out of things. When the bread’s gone, the bread’s gone. Everything is baked here? Baked here every day. What we bake is what you get. How many varieties? Three. French, sourdough and multigrain. And what’s your favorite? Hmmm. I guess French is pretty standard.

Was it tough to transition to not being in charge? No—I wanted to stay home. Was it difficult to transition back? Yes.

You’ve kinda got a French theme going here… Eh, I don’t know about the French. But you have French on the sign! That

[Laughs.] That was a big decision.

was a college project.

Really? It’s a long story: I went to culinary school after high school and worked in the business for three, four years, six months in Palm Beach, five months in Cape Cod. After a few years my parents said, “You can’t run up and down 95 the rest of your life.” I got my experience there, but then I went back to college and studied hotel and restaurant management. I had a project to come up with a viable business plan for a restaurant, and this was it. What do you think has been key to your success all these years later? The staff. I

think Sheila’s been here since two weeks after we opened, Mo’s been here 16 years, Meghan started here right around the time my daughter was born, so about nine years. Without them, it wouldn’t be the same. Sheila knows the names of a lot of our customers, Mo knows what they eat. Meghan is tried and true, and she’d come in if I called her at midnight and asked for help washing dishes. Anything else that’s super consistent with you guys? We’re at Safe Harbor twice

a week feeding the homeless. We’ve been doing that for… 14 years? That was a New Year’s resolution Sheila and I made 14 years ago.






Diane LeBold and the West Chester Food Co-Op examine local food production and bring eaters closer to the source of their food


As more working families in Chester County become clients of the county food cupboards, the Chester County Food Bank has expanded its capabilities and resources, and some of its most important resources are their volunteers. Since July 2013 the food bank’s collection point for all food resources has been in a 36,000 square-foot facility in the Eagleview corporate center. From the food bank warehouse, food is distributed to local food pantries and other distribution agencies, including schools, community and social service organizations, and shelters throughout the county. “We’re the food hub for the county,” notes Anne Shuniak, manager of community engagement and marketing for the food bank. “We serve the 100-plus agencies who, in turn, serve individuals and families. “We’re not a government organization.” Anne continues. “We receive some federal food support, but we’re dependent on the generosity of the community for most of our food and funds. Donations are critical, but so is our year-round team of volunteers. Whether they’re hosting food drives, helping in our kitchen, building raised-bed gardens or harvesting at our farms, volunteers are an integral part of our mission to feed the hungry.” If you were to volunteer at the food bank this winter, you could be working in the warehouse sorting donated food, or packing senior or emergency boxes. As a volunteer in the food bank’s licensed commercial kitchen, you might help process locally grown food or pack items like rice or pasta for students. If you’d rather work outdoors, volunteers help out at the four farm sites and raised-bed garden locations. Volunteers plant and maintain the gardens, and harvest the produce. So, although the food bank needs volunteers year-round, April through November is usually when they have the most pressing need. In addition to her position with the food bank, Anne is also a member of the West Chester Food Co-op’s steering committee. The Co-op is currently in its early planning stages, but Anne sees an inevitable connection between the two organizations. “Food is a great community connector,” she observes. “I think food bank contributors and volunteers, local farmers, and the people developing the Co-op are all tuned into that connection. “We envision the Co-op as a partner with the food bank, offering the community education on healthy eating, events like cooking demos, and awareness of local farms,” Anne says. “We’d hope our client families will see the Co-op as a friendly community center, so if they get something from a food pantry or want to grow something in their own garden, they’re comfortable walking into the Co-op and being part of the Co-op community.” Suzanne Adams, chair of the Co-op’s steering committee, agrees and sees the Co-op as a potential source of volunteers for the food bank. “We’d want to collaborate with the food bank not only to provide education, but also as a resource for volunteers.” To donate or volunteer, visit You can also contact Anne Shunkiak at or 610-873-6000.







Three New Apartment Buildings That Might Change Your Mind About The Rental Lifestyle By Jesse Piersol


ait, wait, wait…

before you stop reading because “apartment living isn’t for you,” let’s consider: Do you love mowing grass? Cleaning out gutters? Fixing plumbing leaks? How about driving home from dinner in downtown West Chester after sharing a bottle or two of wine? Not to mention the parking.

At the same time, young professionals are holding off on buying their first home. “These potential buyers saw their parents lose equity in the family home during the Great Recession,” says Tony Stancato, co-owner of the development company that created Chestnut Street Lofts. “They’re hesitant to put themselves in that same situation.”

Might burdens such as these actually be preventing you from living a better life?

So where can they live? A study commissioned by the Downtown Business Improvement District in 2012 discovered that West Chester lacks options to welcome these active empty nesters into the residential space historically occupied by post-college renters. And yet, the current business district largely targets consumers with a healthy amount of disposable income.

The question is not as bold as it seems. Eli Kahn, the developer behind high-end apartment complex Chestnut Square, notes that there has been a paradigm shift in the way people live. “It used to be that people moved from cities to the suburbs to find the ‘American Dream’ on that half-acre patch in a neighborhood subdivision. After their kids left home, they stayed in that suburban home for years," he says. "Today, those same people in their fifties are active, mobile, and don’t want to live in the house. They want a different lifestyle. They want to walk to dinner.”

Three new apartment buildings aim to address West Chester’s burgeoning post-suburban ethos, delivering maintenance-free, one-floor living with the right mix of big-city excitement and small-town safety. 



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Chesnut Street Lofts - 117 East Chestnut Street C

hestnut Street Lofts is the only project of the three currently completed, making it the first to market, and “the first apartment community of its kind in Chester County,” says Tony Stancato. “With contemporary, sophisticated, lifestyleinspired spaces typically found in big cities, the Lofts gives borough residents more reasons to love where they live.” And they do love where they live. “A young woman who just signed a lease volunteered to be the social coordinator. For free,” says Suzanne Harris, who handles public relations and marketing for the Lofts. “I was shocked. Another one of our tenants did event planning when he was in college, and he has lots of ideas for social events here too.” Shared social spaces set the Lofts apart from other apartment complexes. In the first floor community room, a sleek, modern pool table sits at the end of a long bank of single-legged bar stools and a sweeping tiled bar. Expansive windows line the entire front of the building, giving residents full view of the pace of life that passes by the quiet stretch of Chestnut Street. All apartments have one bedroom and start at about $1200 a month. Although the primary target market consists of young professionals 24 to 36 years old, the very first person to sign a lease in October was a 69-year-old woman with cats. “She loved the building the first time she saw it, and leased the most expensive unit,” says Suzanne.

you in, but they won’t keep you from going out. In Tony’s appraisal, “The major amenity is the town. It’s the main attraction, and not your apartment.”

Perks:  The atrium is spectacular and will impress your friends  Free amenities, including wifi and fitness center  Quiet, residential location a block from Gay Street  Complimentary breakfast station for tenants  You can have up to two cats  You can move in right now

Drawbacks:  You can’t have a dog

The architectural touches and inviting floor plans might draw





124 Market Place - 124 East Market Street T

he view from apartment 500 will get you. The entirety of Market Street’s business district beckons from just beyond the reach of the deep-sill windows on the building’s fifth floor. Sure, you can’t beat the proximity to everything and the fun of living right in town, but what about the noise? Andy and Chris McCool, developers of Market Place, say you don’t need to worry. “We made soundproofing a priority so our units having a way higher rating than the standard accepted STC (Sound Transmission Class) code,” explains Andy. The sub-flooring in the apartments is one example of their efforts to minimize noise. Gypcrete, which in addition to providing fire protection and a level surface for hardwood floors, provides a quiet environment. Designed to be the last word in convenience, the 88-unit Market Place features a Jimmy John’s, an Asian fusion spot, and a nail salon, all on the first floor. “If you feel like staying in, you can get everything you need without going outside,” says Andy. The front facade of Market Place has five different compositions, taking cues from existing styles in town. “On one section, we’re using a white porcelain tile very similar to what was on the front of the old M. S. Yearsley & Sons hardware store that used to be here,” says Chris. “It’s important to us that the building fits in with the town. For instance, the building is 60 feet high, rather than the 75 feet we were allowed, because we felt it fit in better with the horizon of the town.”

Andy adds, “our family has been here since the 1700s, and we’re not going anywhere. It’s important to us to make positive additions to the town.”


 The excitement of Market Street  A ceiling fan in bedrooms and the living room  On crappy days, you never have to leave the building  Pet friendly  Fitness center  Flexible leases, from 3-15 months

Drawbacks:  The excitement of Market Street  You can’t move in until this spring



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Chestnut Square - Corner of Chestnut & Matlack E

namored with the retro charm and creaky floors of a classic old apartment in the borough? Then Chestnut Square is most definitely not for you. “You walk in and it’s like a boutique hotel, with elevators and conference rooms on the first floor,” says developer Eli Kahn. “The amenity space alone is probably 10,000 square feet. These will be the highest quality apartments in West Chester.” The primary customer is the empty nester who is looking to optimize their living space. Eli’s company just finished a project in Malvern that was built for a similar demographic. “What we learned with our Malvern project is that, when selling their suburban home, empty nesters are not looking to sacrifice security or amenities. They want walkability, because most of them go out to eat four nights a week.” Young professionals with good jobs round out the target audience.

Designed for truly luxurious, maintenance-free living, Chestnut Square has 205 apartments, all with secured parking spaces contained underground. In summertime, residents might enjoy sunning themselves next to the outdoor pool. (Yes, an outdoor pool.) When the weather’s bad, movie buffs can enjoy a film in the 12-seat theatre. Lounges, a business center, a golf simulator, and a full fitness center add to the list of amenities.

square feet, with pricing at $2/square foot. There are one and two-bedroom layouts, and many units include balconies, dens, and even optional concierge service.

Perks:  The ultimate in luxury  An outdoor pool  Fitness center  Secure, underground parking  Pet friendly

Drawbacks:  It ain’t cheap  The building won’t be finished until early 2016

Nine different floor plans range in size from 750 to 2,200





Owner of the


PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


Tommy Ciccarone is the third generation of family man running Parkway Cleaners in West Chester. How long has your family been in West Chester? My grandfather was born here in

1928. His father moved here because his wife lived here. I guess that was a year or two before my grandfather was born. What was your family doing before Parkway? My great-grandfather was a tailor

who came here from Italy. He started his own dry cleaning business with a large plant in Wilmington, but not Parkway. It wasn't Parkway? Let me me step back: he lived in West Chester above what is now The Painted Plate, and they had the cleaners on the first floor. That expanded, and eventually he retired from the busi-

ness, sold it, and got into real estate. So there was a time when your family got out of the dry cleaning business? For a

short period. My grandfather went to work for DuPont as a research chemist before his father convinced him he should open up a cleaners with his brother, which is when they started Parkway down in Wilmington. Parkway started out as one store in Delaware? Until my grandfather couldn’t take

my Uncle Frannie anymore and opened his own Parkway up here in West Chester. Where was the first Parkway in West Chester? Where Safelite AutoGlass is,

three doors down from our current location on Gay Street, just before DK Diner. He was renting there, then eventually bought the gas station that once stood where our store is now; that was the first one he built. Where did the name come from? My grandfather thought the name made sense because that was the major type of road back in the day—before the interstates and expressways—and he knew to use our last name would be a terrible idea. Because people would always mispronounce it? People would butcher it and

they wouldn’t want to go there because the name's too complicated. And there was a bit of a bias against Italians back in

those days; he didn’t want people to be biased against the business. What have been some of the biggest changes you’ve seen? We started a real

focus on our pickup and delivery at homes and offices because as I got out of school, I noticed that it seemed like everybody had less time and needed more convenience. We know that, as a dry cleaners, we are the secondary item in any shopping center— you go to Giant, and if there’s a dry cleaners there, you drop off your dry cleaning. We wanted to be more convenient than that. We've seen a lot of growth there—we now cover about 700 miles a week. Speaking of shopping centers, how’d the Parkway Center come to be? My grandfa-

ther bought that—he always enjoyed the idea of real estate. There was an auction for that property, which my grandfather won, and he built a shopping center there. And I never asked: how’d you come to run the business? I drew the short straw… Born into it and got suckered into taking over, huh? No. I’ve worked here ever since

I was younger, and I always wanted to do it. I grew up coming in early with my dad so I could spend some time with him and sleeping in the carts. I’ve just always wanted to be part of the family business.





Children in


Jennifer Ozgur is a mother, wife and teacher who still finds time to get out and about with her family

It was the morning of the first Saturday of December. I was drinking my coffee and catching up on all the pop culture news and neglected social networks from the previous week, still groggy, my son still asleep. That’s when I found the announcement in my inbox: "The Gift of Literacy Day at the West Chester

Borough Building." Sponsored by Read 2Dream, there would be a book reading by a Philadelphia news anchor, music by student musicians from West Chester Area School District, holiday card-making and gift bags for the first 450 children who showed up. It was close by, and I was in need of something to do in the morning before my son’s nap. He loves books, and this promotes reading. Plus it included free stuff—the making for a perfect Saturday morning. I checked the time and had just over an hour to leave the house. About half an hour later, I heard stirrings from my boy’s bedroom and opened his door to greet him with the question, “How would you like to go to a book party?” That was enough to get him to comply as I peeled off his “jammie-jams” and readied him to brave the misty weather. He helped me pack his bag with the staples: diapers and wipes; crackers and juice boxes. As we drove the 10 minutes down Route 100, I was still nursing my steady stream of caffeine and he was attacking a waffle. I explained to him that we were going to a place with a lot of kids and there’d be story time and lots to do. And that he had to be good. I interpreted his silence as compliance. I managed to find a parking spot down the road from the police station by the Henderson track, and as we exited the car, I was surprised to find a steady stream of strollers all aimed in the same direction. Once inside, organized pandemonium greeted us. Cellophane bags with books were handed out (as promised in the email), free raffle tickets were given for chances to win door prizes of various gift baskets, and we arrived at the tail end of the first featured celebrity reader. The WCASD superintendent and his wife were next on deck, and a teacher from the district read a book he had written in collaboration with his artist brother. My son made a card and we wound up staying for the duration. Impressed with the event, I researched Read2Dream after putting my son down for a nap. The website ( explains that Kelly Kids and Critters is the company that promotes the literacy initiative—it's dedicated to increasing reading by creating a system of rewards and challenges for children. The organization is a great asset to West Chester, and I hope to learn more in an effort to increase my own household’s love of books. I encourage everyone to check out the website and consider a new resolution—reading more, more often—one goal that can benefit the whole family.



What people are saying about The WC Press...


The WC Press has been an incredible marketing partner for us. What makes them so powerful is the fact that they are a member of our community and know the market like no other resource. They truly partner with many members of the community, and I feel like they are invested in our success. –Frank Herron, Barnaby’s of West Chester


People love to pick up a copy of The WC Press in my store. The magazine has become a great source for local news and event information that people are interested in, which makes it a great choice for my business to advertise in. The owners go out of their way to help local businesses and donate their precious time to many organizations in town that support the downtown of West Chester.


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We jumped on board with The WC Press when they published their first issue (in black & white). These guys had something special from the start and a vision to see their publication grow and reach our whole community... mission accomplished! We enjoy working with their whole creative team from advertising to social media; we are able to reach more customers through a broader spectrum of advertising, and we couldn’t be more pleased! –Laura Aloisio, DARE Auto

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2015 Themes January - The Real Estate Issue February - The Literary Issue March - The Fitness Issue April - The Great Outdoors Issue May - The Photography Issue June - The Summer Fun Guide July - The Automotive Issue August - The Fall Fashion Issue September - The Food Issue October - The Halloween Issue November - The Health & Beauty Issue December - The Holiday Issue

Interested? Contact Account Director Nick Vecchio 610.299.1100  The WC Press is published by Mathers Productions llc 13 S Church St, West Chester, Pa 19382  610.344.3463 




Becca Boyd has a passion for good food


Most people can quickly identify themselves as a spender or a saver. Me? I save. This affects my kitchen behavior: what I buy, what I freeze, and what I’ve learned to make myself. First up this month? Packaged granola bars. By making them yourself, you can feel good about what you’re putting in your body and save yourself some cash. Next up, a multipurpose recipe: protein-packed frittatas work for every meal, freeze beautifully, and are inexpensive to make. Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bar Makes 20 1 c. peanut butter; 1 c. pitted dates, pureed or finely chopped 2 c. puffed chocolate or rice cereal; 2 c. old-fashioned oats 1/2 c. ground flaxseed; 1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut 1 c. dried cranberries or cherries; 1/3 c. chocolate protein powder; 2/3 c. honey; 1/4 tsp. kosher salt; 1/3 c. bittersweet chocolate chips 1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook peanut butter, dates, honey, and salt, whisking frequently, until smooth and melted. 2. In a second bowl, combine oats, flaxseed, coconut, protein powder, and dried cranberries. Add peanut butter mixture and stir to combine. Add chocolate cereal and stir to coat. 3. Spray a 9x13 baking dish lightly with nonstick spray and dump mixture inside. With a dampened spatula, press mixture into the pan and smooth. 4. Microwave chocolate chips in a small glass bowl, 30 seconds. Stir and microwave again for 15 seconds. Repeat if necessary. 5. Scrape melted chocolate into a small plastic sandwich bag and press into one corner of bag. Snip the corner and drizzle chocolate over bars. 6. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, at least 1 hour. Cut into 20 bars and store, refrigerated, in between sheets of waxed paper or foil.

Frittata with Swiss Chard and Chicken Sausage Serves 6 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil; 3/4 c. feta cheese; 1/2 tsp. pepper 1 small to medium white or yellow onion, diced; 8 eggs 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, chopped; 1/4 c. milk 8 oz. precooked chicken sausage, chopped; 1/4 tsp. salt Fresh parsley, optional, as garnish 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and saute until softened, about 5-8 minutes. 2. Add Swiss chard and saute until wilted and mixture is dry – about ten minutes. 3. Scrape Swiss chard and onion mixture to a drainer or sieve and press out any remaining water. 4. Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add Swiss chard mixture, sausage, and cheese and mix to combine. 5. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with nonstick spray and pour in mixture. 6. Bake for about 1 hour or until set. 7. Cool about fifteen minutes. Invert onto a plate and then set right side up onto another plate before cutting, or cut in pan. 8. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.






KALY keeps you ahead of the fashion curve with two of this month's best looks.



Look PHOTO Andrew Hutchins

Wrap Yourself in Angora Wool

STORY Polly Zobel

There is something so comforting about knits with a bit of volume — the slouchy silhouette is casual but still very of-the-moment. Some of our favorite items come from Wooden Ships, a husband-and-wife team that donates a portion of sales to a variety of environmental causes. Pull one of their pieces over our favorite denim leggings from JAG, and you'll both look and feel better than ever.

Outfit One - Holly Brown Angora Navy Poncho - Wooden Ships, $105 Triple-strand Necklace - Nakamol, $51 Long Tassel Necklace - Nakamol, $53 Fair-trade Triple Wrap Bracelet - Chan Luu E.F.I., $42

Then, add some style to your sweaters with two of the hottest trends in accessories. The first is infinity scarves, like these handmade, fairtrade infinity scarves from Nepal. Also on-trend is layering necklaces, so we've paired two separate necklaces from Nakamol for a fun and stylish look.

Outfit Two - Polly Zobel Angora Winter White Sweater - Wooden Ships, $105 Indigo Jean Leggings - $80 Wrap Bracelet - $59 JANUARY 2015 THEWCPRESS.COM


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We get in on the ground floor with a rundown on some of West Chester’s exciting new development projects. by Kate Chadwick When you think of the word “skyscraper,” the picture of the building conjured up in your mind’s eye most likely goes a wee bit higher than seven stories. Once upon a time, however (in 1908, to be exact), a Beaux Arts-style “skyscraper” was erected at Market and High Streets in the heart of downtown West Chester, and that skyscraper was known then (as it is now) as the Farmers and Mechanics Building. It’s served a variety of purposes over the years— including as a vantage point from which to watch for German planes during World War II—and, in 1983, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Now owned by Myles Land & Improvement Company, LLC, the building’s seven floors are currently only partially occupied by office spaces. But if the company’s plans are approved by the borough, that may change 





Farmers & Mechanics Hotel

borough of West Chester, and for the preservation of a historic building.” Developer Eli Kahn, owner of E. Kahn Development Corporation, is also thinking along those “betterment of West Chester” lines with his Mosteller Project on Gay and North Church Streets. While Myles Land and Development’s F&M Building project would accommodate visitors, Kahn’s Mosteller Project will focus on those who wish to work and possibly live in the borough, depending upon which of Kahn’s real estate development proposal is ultimately green-lighted. His original plans, which were for a sevenstory, 100,000 square-foot structure, included one level of retail space, two levels of office space, and four levels of upscale condominiums; the plans were approved by the borough. A revised, scaled-down building proposal, minus the condos and with the addition of an urban park/plaza area was submitted late last year, and was denied by the borough. Kahn has since revised the property project yet again, as a five-story retail and office space, but has not yet decided which of the projects he will submit for final approval and go ahead with, he told us. A decision will likely be made prior to the end of the first quarter of 2015.

in a big way. An application has been submitted by the company to repurpose the building and transform it into a luxury boutique hotel. While there are several chain hotels located just outside the borough, there is currently only one within it: the 80-room Hotel Warner on North High Street, and the logic is that between West Chester University parents and visitors, plus those who simply view West Chester as a destination in its own right, another hotel would be useful if not outright necessary. As Business Improvement District Director Malcolm Johnstone said in a recent Daily Local article, “West Chester is a destination here in the Brandywine Valley that is hot enough to support hotels. As long as we maintain our position as a dining and shopping location, people will want to stay here.” And if the F&M Building plans are brought to fruition, the proposed hotel

will definitely be a place people want to stay. According to attorney Brian Nagle, who represents of Myles Land & Improvement Company, the hotel will boast 40 luxuriously-appointed rooms, along with a restaurant on the first floor and mezzanine. The roof top, which was previously utilized as a formal garden, will be reimagined with a deck and a pool. Nagle told us that, despite the building’s prime location, interest in the structure’s current utilization as office space has waned in recent years, as it’s been outstripped by the availability of more high-tech workspace locales in the borough, and that even the building’s current interior layout has been rendered obsolete. The Myles Land & Improvement Company’s rationale for the total repurposing of the building is actually two-fold, according to Nagle: “It’s both for the betterment of the

Whether it’s to live or work in West Chester, Kahn believes that both younger and older demographics are quite over the whole “suburban sprawl” notion. “Particularly with their jobs, I think most people are feeling less like working in a suburban complex environment. They want to be able to walk out of their office building and go get a Starbucks or grab a sandwich, as opposed to walking out of the building and finding themselves in a parking lot.” West Chester, he believes (as do we!) is the ideal environment. “West Chester is an exceptional place,” he told us. “It’s a county seat, it’s got a university, and there’s a good employment base.”





The Mosteller Building

Kahn also believes that it’s a testament to the borough that the demographics are adjusting to shifts in the economy and lifestyle trends, although he does admit he’s got his eye squarely on the more mature demographic. “I’m focused on the empty-nester, particularly if we go ahead with the condo project,” he told us. “Not everyone who is downsizing from their big Chester County house is going to pick up and move into Philadelphia, and the borough of West Chester is a really vibrant alternative,” noting its thriving restaurant, shopping and entertainment scene. Kahn also remarked that his proposed ultra-modern office spaces will hold appeal not only to local businesses, but may draw outside ones to the borough as well. When we first contacted Eli Kahn to discuss his project plans, we asked him, “Why West Chester, and why now?” His immediate response was “I don’t understand the question.” And we think that’s likely because the obvious answer to anyone with Kahn’s sort of vision for the borough is “Why not West Chester, and why not now?” And these are just two of the major projects in the works in West Chester – we’d be remiss not to mention a third big one, literally and figuratively. It’s yet another hotel proposal, this one by Zukin Realty in conjunction with Doubletree Hotels.

The site of the project is the corner of Walnut and Gay, the former Rite-Aid store where Stan Zukin, the company’s founder, purchased his first property in West Chester. The full-service hotel project, with 120 rooms and at a proposed at a height of 90 feet, has been in

The WC BID’s Johnstone agrees. “These developments demonstrate the health of our local economy,” he told us. “Just as important, each of these projects—the two hotels and Eli Kahn’s first-class retail office space right in the center of the borough will enhance the entire downtown

Zukin/Doubletree Hotel

the appeals process since the borough denied final approval of it in December 2013, based on current statutes regarding maximum building height. Zukin representatives did not wish to comment due to the ongoing negotiations, but it will be interesting to see how this is ultimately resolved, and to our minds, is just further testament to the ongoing growth in West Chester.

visitor experience.” Adds Mark Yoder of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce: “The Chamber is proud to see these developers proposing projects that are following the recommendations based on the chamber-commissioned 2011 Urban Land Institute study,” he told us. “West Chester is a thriving community, and we’re proud to be a part of its continued development.”





Tell Me something


Kate Chadwick takes a moment to spotlight a local citizen for doing something swell

Who she is: Evelyn Norton

What she does: Evelyn is a volunteer at The Barn at Springbrook Farm, a non-profit, handicapped-accessible organization whose mission is to provide animal-assisted activities for children with disabilities. The programs are primarily focused towards providing sensory and socialization skills to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Why she’s on this page: Evelyn has been volunteering her time at The Barn since her retirement eight years ago. “She’s been a fabulous volunteer for The Barn,” Program Director Laura LaPelusa told us. “Evelyn goes above and beyond to volunteer with two of our wonderful barn visitors, assisting them with their individual visitation programs. She not only teaches the children she works with about the animals, she also provides friendship and love to each of them.” In addition to her her weekly visits to The Barn, Evelyn also dedicates her time in assisting with The Barn’s summer camp program, Camp Geronimo. “Evelyn is always ready to step up to the plate with whatever we need help with. Whether it’s office work, planning, or working directly with the children and the animals, Evelyn is always a huge help,” said LaPelusa. What she likes about West Chester: Currently a Westtown resident, Evelyn has been living in the West Chester area for 31 years. She told us that one of her favorite things about the borough is the endless array of diverse activities always being offered in West Chester. Evelyn said she also likes to meet friends in town for lunch or dinner, and that she especially enjoys shopping locally, particularly when looking for something a little different and unique. What we like about her: Her dedication. “I wanted to volunteer with an organization that gives back to the community,” Evelyn told us. “A friend told me about The Barn and its mission, and it sounded like a good match for me. After one visit, I knew I wanted to help the children who came there.” And the payoff for her? “It’s just wonderful for me to see how the children who come to the Barn change and respond to the animals,” she said. “I’ve watched children who were quite shy but could be very comfortable around animals learn how to gradually transfer those skills to relate to adults and to other children. I’ve also seen what caring and supportive families these children have.” Moral of the story: Retirement? What’s that? In addition to the time she spends at The Barn, Evelyn also helps out at the First Presbyterian Church, where she’s a member of the Board of Deacons, and where she also volunteers as a receptionist one afternoon per week. Children, animals, office work, church. Retirement is evidently not for slackers. The Barn at Springbrook Farm is located at 350 Locust Grove Road in West Chester. For more information on the programs, how to donate, or to volunteer, visit Do you know a WC resident who’s doing good things and deserves a little recognition in Tell Me Something Good? Let us know! Email details to





Bartender of the


PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


Erica Brown talks good food and classic cocktails at Pietro’s Prime How long have you been here? Since we

opened, over seven years ago. Where were you before? I was at George’s in Wayne and—for many years— I was upstairs at Vincent’s. I heard about this restaurant opening, and it sounded like a really good place to be

clientele, and if you work hard you’ll be rewarded for it. And, it’s low-drama. Really? Low drama, working in a restaurant. How does that happen? It starts with

the owners and the managers—they’re straight talkers. The crowd here is a little different than a lot of the bars in West Chester, right? It’s a

bit… we don’t get a whole lot of the college kids in here. With that different crowd, what are some of your favorite nights in here? I like

working Monday nights; it’s a little quieter. Wednesday nights are a lot of fun; John Grecia plays and there’s usually a really good group of people who come out. I guess we should say that, just because you don’t have the young market, doesn’t mean it’s not fun here. Oh, no—we have

What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in your time here? I wouldn’t

a great time. Even on a Wednesday, with good live music, people have a great time.

say there’s any huge changes. It’s familyowned and operated, so it’s become like a second home. Some people have come and gone I guess but… Not much turnover? There are a number of us who’ve been here since day one. What would you attribute that to? It’s a good place to be—good owners, good

Sometimes it’s packed and sometimes it’s not as busy, but it’s always good. When it’s not packed, people sit at the bar enjoying half-priced apps, and everything from a burger to a prime rib sandwich to a steak. And what are they drinking? Like most bars, we do a good number of beers, but

Do you have a good happy hour crowd?

it’s less light beer than what you’d find elsewhere and more from our selection of craft beers. We also move good wine and a lot of martinis—I’d say we’re a martini bar. What is the perfect martini? The average person here who asks for a martini wants Ketel One vodka, a little bit of dry vermouth and bleu cheese-stuffed olives. But, for me, I’m kind of a purist; while I make a lot of creative drinks and dessert drinks and stuff, I’d much prefer—although I don’t go out drinking much these days— I’d prefer just a bourbon on the rocks. I should also admit we’ve interviewed you before in an entirely different capacity—you’re an artist, and I notice you’ve got some of your work on display here. I don’t

display too many pieces here because my inventory is too low—knock on wood—for me to rotate pieces in and out. Especially now with my hands full being a mom, I try not to keep too many pieces out. How do you balance your three jobs of bartender, artist and mother? I have my

daughter all day, except Fridays, then I’m here three nights plus Friday afternoons, and then I paint late at night when she’s asleep. So, I’d say the key to it is that I just generally don’t get a whole lot of sleep.





g n i t n e reinv


ARMORY by Brad Liermann

Uptown! Entertainment Alliance’s planned renovation of the West Chester National Guard Armory


uilt in 1916 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the West Chester National Guard Armory building is one of the many places in this town that matter. Identity in a neighborhood starts with these places that matter—the places with which we are familiar, where we gather, buy, live and do business. Properties at the axis of a community are uniquely positioned to shape identity and sculpt the future. When Uptown! Entertainment Alliance managed to leverage political and local support into securing the approachable price point of $760,000 for the armory building, they began the process of positively sculpting the future of this borough. The Armory’s 10,900-square-foot interior has the space to feature a 350-seat theater, and its barrel-vaulted ceiling on the main floor, where audiences will enjoy films and live performances, has the potential to create an impressive experience. This place has served as a hub for the brave men and women who protect us for almost 100 years. Hopefully its second iteration will bring it continued relevance for another century or more. 





When plans were unveiled in the spring of 2012 for a new center for the Pennsylvania National Guard—one that would house the National Guard’s Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry and 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team—immediate interest was sparked in regards to what would become of the iconic property they'd leave behind.

economic momentum that West Chester has already achieved. The West Chester LLC encourages greater resident involvement in the small businesses of this town, through either ownership, employment or by being loyal customers." Formed in 2007, the company made their initial low-interest loan to the West Chester Public Library for some much-needed renovations. The LLC provided another low-interest financing package to the Uptown! Entertainment Alliance for the purchase of the Armory. With a little help from State Senator Andy Dinniman, who introduced legislation that passed unanimously to convey the government property to the nonprofit, the deal was struck.

More than 10,000 square feet on half an acre of prime, borough real estate does not go unnoticed, and less than a year later, Uptown! Entertainment Alliance had struck a deal with the State Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The deal came with the caveat that Uptown! must maintain the historical façade of the structure. With their compliance, the state department agreed to sell their property for $200,000 less than their initial asking price.

2.5 million dollars

Crucial to the deal, though little-known to the public, is the highly influential West Chester Library Labor & Capital LLC. The company's vision for the town is truly inspiring: "More knowledge and a sense of vested interest in the success of the town are vital to sustaining the

will be utilized for the renovation of the structure. Today, with the property secured and the Bancroft Construction Company engaged to manage the project, the task at hand is to raise money. Lots of money. Close to $4 million is needed to purchase and renovate the structure, mostly with the aim of creating a space that is handicapped accessible, asbestos-free and historically preserved. As an addition to the current layout and scope of the property, the group proposes to add an outdoor amphitheatre on the northwest corner of the property, leading to a total of $2.5 million needed for the renovation of the structure. This will include the accessibility work, asbestos removal, and most importantly to each person attending future events at the venue; sound equipment, lighting and seating.



Great Food, Great Drinks

& Daily Specials 15 S HIGH ST  610.696.1400 BARNABYSWESTCHESTER.COM



The rest of the budget includes $50,000 in closing costs, $40,000 to facilitate the administration of the nonprofit during the fundraising period, $200,000 to operate the organization in the first year, and another $200,000 as a contingency for the construction work. As an additional tool to secure financing, board members of the Uptown! Entertainment Alliance created a private, for-profit entity to solicit investment capital for the purpose of renovating the Armory building. Of course there are naming opportunities available to major donors that the group hopes will underwrite the majority of the cost. To purchase the marquee naming rights, a sponsor would have to be prepared to pony up $1 million, and according to sources within the alliance, they might just be close to closing this deal. Still, other naming opportunities remain: the main stage theatre, the lobby and reception hall each come with half-million price tags. The rest of the building is also up for naming rights, even the catering kitchen can be named for your business (or yourself for that matter) if you’re willing to drop the requisite $50,000. Bancroft Construction Company has significant experience in the realm of historic renovations. Among their client list is the Dupont Hotel, the Walnut Street YMCA in Wilmington, the Brandywine River Museum and Longwood Gardens. According to their own experience in this line of work, “Reinstating the historical character of a building impacts virtually every facet of the construction process, especially when you consider the challenges posed by today's code stipulations, ADA accessibility requirements, and safety issues.” For these reasons and more, they look at historic renova-

tions as much as a discovery process as a construction project. The $200,000 in contingency funds may be a well-placed budget line item once that discovery process begins. The building also boasts an additional 7,000 square feet in the lower-level space that is intended to be revenue-generating and supplemental to the larger theatre space above. The Uptown! Entertainment Alliance anticipates an annual budget of $520,000 with $165,000 in ticket revenues. This leaves a large portion of the budget to be generated by tenant leases and event rentals. As a larger event venue than the popular Chester County Historical Society directly across North High Street, and with the Hotel Warner less than a block away, the alliance is confident they’ll soon become an equally desirable location to the CCHS property. Potential tenants for the building include music teachers, dance instructors and other similar uses. With the 100year anniversary of the construction of the armory approaching next year, the alliance hopes to host a New Years Eve party at the end of 2015 as a ribbon cutting for the building, a fit-

ting celebration for the structure that has stood as a welcome sign to the borough for nearly a century. Even in an historic borough such as ours, iconic properties are rarities. West Chester may have more than most—the Farmers and Mechanics Building, the post office, the courthouse, the historical society, the Lincoln Building and the armory, but even so, they’re few. The responsibility to maintain and uphold them falls to the residents, and in this case the residents that formed Uptown! Entertainment Alliance should be celebrated and applauded. Once renovations are complete, the armory will once again be an important structure in the borough. This time around, children will gather to learn the arts, senior citizens will enjoy live theatre, university professors will perform and speak off campus, and young families will share the joy of art. If we're lucky, it will become a place we’re familiar with, a place that shapes our identity, a place that matters.





DJ Romeo curates a list of up-andcoming artists to watch for in 2015

Every year a new name makes a splash on the charts, appearing out of nowhere. This year we had Australian Iggy Azalea, and emotionally attuned Sam Smith. So who's the next big thing? The following is my list of potentials. You might not recognize them now, but by the end of 2015 someone from this list might be the biggest name in music. Raury - “Cigarette Song” 18-year-old Atlanta rapper/singer/ songwriter/producer Raury blends a number of genres including EDM, rap and folk music. His empowering, adventurous lyrics and musical wanderlust have caught the attention of his peers, with fellow Atlanta band OutKast giving him their seal of approval, and Lorde inviting him to contribute to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay soundtrack. Years & Years - “Desire” An electro-pop boy band that fuses elements gathered from a variety of ‘90s sounds while still managing to sound innovative and fresh. Their futuristic synths and hard-hitting pop hooks will make it mainstream in 2015. Mikky Ekko - “Pull Me Down” A soulful singer-songwriter who has become one of the most in-demand collaborators in music, working with everyone from David Guetta to Lil’ Wayne. His debut album “Time” should be released sometime this month. Shura - “Touch” This half-British, half-Russian singer has already ratcheted up more than a million SoundCloud plays and nearly as many YouTube streams. Shura’s synth-driven material is a contemporary take on classic bedroom R&B. Rae Morris - “Under the Shadows” The Kate Bush-inspired “Under the Shadows” makes a strong case for the 21-year-old UK native’s place among the likes of Ellie Goulding, Florence Welch and other distinctively ethereal British singers. Shamir - “On The Regular” This 19-year-old, Las Vegas-based future pop star’s music combines bold '80s pop vibes, simplistic drum machines, discordant synths and colourful harmonies, recalling Prince in his androgynous heyday. BORNS - “10,000 Emerald Pools” The singer-songwriter mixes a unique sense of sound with a heavy flow of harmony, all spiced with a wondrous blend of synth-pop. Most of which he began writing in his tree house home located in LA... seriously. Pell - “Runaway” New Orleans rapper Pell is on the rise, and his debut album Floating While Dreaming shows what he’s capable of. Entertaining with wordplay, Pell impresses time and time again by utilizing his talent to make the uninteresting, interesting. James Bay - “Let It Go” A folksier Ed Sheeran, this soulful singersongwriter crafts moving and evocative folk-pop confections that landed him a finalist spot in the Brit Critics' Choice Awards. His track "Let It Go" has appeared on the Spotify viral charts 17 times across ten countries and has become the one of most-searched tracks on Shazam worldwide.





BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: It's everyone’s favorite bar game, in print (and you won’t have to pay 50 cents). You can actually WIN money. Compare the two photos at right. They may look the same, but there are five subtle differences between the two. Find those five differences and identify the items that have been changed. Then send an email to listing those items. You’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card to a local business. Winners will be chosen at random, and their name will be posted to Facebook along with the solution at the end of the month. So make sure to like us and follow along if you want to play. Enjoy!

Can you spot the five differences in this photo of Gay Street from the 1954? The tan building with the large garage, is now Teca, and that Goldberg's is a parking lot. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.







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