Community feedback has inspired tweaks to plans to redevelop the Brandywine Town Center.
“They want to elevate the look, the feel and the offerings” in the area closest to Naamans Road, said Mike Hoffman, of Tarabicos, Grosso & Hoffman, the Delaware land use attorney for the Acadia Realty Trust. “It should be the front door and the heart of the property.”
The center was developed from a single tract – the old Brandywine Raceway, which closed in 1989 – but has had varied success in different segments since it opened in 1997.
The back, at the northern side of the Brandywine Hundred property, is a successful power center of big-box stores, like Lowe’s. True, they come and go as chains reconsider their operations: the hhgregg closed in 2017, and the Bed, & Bath and Beyond is having a closing sale.
The front, with smaller retailers and a Target, is less successful, Acadia says in acknowledging “tenant retention issues.”
Acadia unveiled its latest plan Wednesday at a meeting co-hosted by the influential Council of Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred and New Castle County Councilwoman Dee Durham.
2 big changes at Brandywine Town Center
There are two big changes from what Acadia proposed last fall, Hoffman said: The community building will be moving east, away from the pond (on the bottom right of the rendering). And the path encircling the pond has been lengthened, widened and rerouted (dark gray on the rendering).
The community building will be kept at 7,500 square feet and redesigned “to maximize offerings,” he said. “The acoustics are terrible, and the layout is not so great.”
New Castle County will continue to host programs at what it calls the Brandywine Rec Center, and the building is also available for nonprofits’ meetings.
The path has been lengthened to a quarter-mile, with markings every 50 meters. And it’s separated from the traffic around the buildings along the pond, to give joggers and other users more comfort.
The Red Robin and the old community building will be demolished.
The pond will be also be reconstructed, at about half the old size, and relandscaped. Two amenities proposed last fall are still in the plan: a performance stage and a splash pad.
Pathways and roadways will be redesigned to improve pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Seven buildings, totaling 42,000 square feet, will surround the pond. That’s 3,000 square feet less than authorized in a 2008 adjustment to the site’s deed restrictions, Hoffman said.
The seven buildings will be designed to house seven or more tenants. The design is “activating interest” from restaurants and retailers, he said, with Acadia already having two letters of intent from companies and strong interest from other potential tenants, none of which he could name.
The playground will also move (it’s in yellow on the right of the rendering).
Acadia at the end of January filed exploratory plans with the county, Hoffman said, and it will file plans related to the deed restrictions this month. He expects the proposal to hit the planning board this spring and County Council following that.
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