A long-planned facelift of Branmar Plaza has begun, and when it’s set to be finished next year, there will be a 21st century look, plus a new Kid Shelleens.
“You always need retail, a grocery, a pharmacy and services,” said Phil Schneider, director of commercial properties for Capano Management, which operates the 150,000-square-foot shopping center in Brandywine Hundred. “It needs to be updated to stay competitive.”
The updates include repaving the parking lot, reconfiguring parking spaces to improve traffic flow, changing to “lighter, brighter and more energy-efficient lighting” and relandscaping.
The center has four buildings, roughly shaped like an L. The first work, which began this summer, is changing the facade on the center’s western end, including adding a tower, one of several planned.
That space, once occupied by WSFS Bank and Branmar Liquors, will become the home of Walgreens. Schneider hopes the drugstore can open in its new 10,000-square-foot site by November.
Work will then move to reconfigure the space where Walgreens is now into space for Branmar Liquors and Action Hardware. The liquor store will grow from about 6,500 square feet to 9,000, he said, and the hardware store will remain at about 9,000 square feet.
Then Action’s space will be reconfigured for a second branch of Kid Shelleen’s, the popular Trolley Square restaurant and bar. Shelleen’s will have about 6,000 square feet, Schneider said.
Schneider said the firm will “push as hard as possible to get as much exterior work done before winter,” with the project being completed next year.
“I’m excited that the renovations have begun,” said Xavier Teixido, who with partner Kelly O’Hanlon runs Harry’s Hospitality Group, which counts Shelleen’s as one of its three restaurants.
“I’m still very excited about opening a Kid Shelleen’s in Branmar Plaza,” Teixido said. “As you can imagine, it’s been relatively turbulent times, but we hope to open sometime next year.”
The new Shelleen’s will be about the same size the original, he said, “but it will feel a little more spacious.” It will also have a patio, and he said there’s a potential of live music.
The design will echo the original as well, with exposed brick, dark woods, an open kitchen and what patrons have nicknamed “comfy chairs” in an elevated seating area near the bar.
Some design elements will also reflect a coronavirus sensitivity: “very clean, with some personal space, yet it feels like a happening place.”
Teixido said he has been attracted to Branmar Plaza for years – he used to live two blocks away – because “it’s a great town center for the community” of about 160,000 people living within 5 miles.