A new view, seen from the same angle and location as the previous photo. vision will also be a tribute to his former business partner, Jack Loew, who passed away in 2014. “This project is going to honor my late partner and friend Jack, who was without a doubt one of the most influential human beings in my life. So is there emotion involved for me on this one? Yes. Absolutely.”
creating something that would stick out like a sore thumb, and Kahn and Bernardon had one word in mind when coming up with the building’s design: timeless. The final version of 44 West is a four-story, 44,000 square foot building with retail and restaurant space on the ground floor and office spaces above. The building will feature lots of windows to let in natural light, something that Kahn says is in 100 years from now, no high demand for modern comone’s going to care about mercial tenants, and scarce in the building. It’s going to a town with so many historical be all about the plaza... building.
We couldn’t help but notice another emotion in speaking with Kahn about this enterprise: excitement. “I really couldn’t be happier, partly because the wait is finally over, but also because all you have to do is go over there to the site and you can see it: people are talking about this, and they’re getting excited about it—because it is exciting! Everyone’s pumped, and that’s a great feeling.” The trick with the 44 West project has been to update the location without
The building will be just a part of the project, however, because there’s also a counterpart—in many ways the piece de resistance: a plaza with a water feature and art installations. In fact, to hear Kahn talk about it, the outside part of the project is what will really put it on the map, so to speak. “Trends in architecture come and go,” Kahn told us. “We came up with a design that is timeless, utilitarian, and relevant for the building—no one’s ever going to be able to say ‘this building is out of style.’ It may not land on the cover
of a magazine, but it will stand the test of time. But the building is only part of the project’s design, and 100 years from now, no one’s going to care about the building. It’s going to be all about the plaza. That’s going to be a landmark, a place for people to gather, or to tell each other when they’re making plans ‘meet me at the plaza.’ And that’s’ something that’s timeless, too.” A cohesive element with the neighborhood area surrounding the buildings is also a critical component of a project like this, particularly in a historically significant borough like West Chester. “The building’s architecture recognizes some of the historic significance of West Chester architecture,” said Neil Leibman, principal at Bernardon. “It’s important to continue with a building vernacular that will enhance and compliment the borough. The plaza and the building need to be in unison with each other; even though they’re two buildings, it is one project. We needed to create storefronts for prospective retailers or restaurateurs that would want to take advantage of Gay and Church Street streetscapes as well as the Plaza.”
JANUARY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM
Voice of the Borough