Monday, March 20, 2017

Cross Properties plans $100M overhaul of Bala Village

Natalie Kostelni Reporter Philadelphia Business Journal
Cross Properties has zeroed in on a corner of Lower Merion referred to as Bala Village and has plans to spend roughly $100 million to develop upwards of 300 multifamily units.

In separate transactions, the developer acquired three properties where it anticipates rolling out its plans in phases and is poised to start reshaping a part of Bala Cynwyd that has been on the township’s radar for years.

In 2000, the township had a master plan completed on the quaint corridor – Bala Avenue between City and Montgomery avenues – that sought to address some of the issues challenging it. It needed better lighting, connectivity and landscaping as well as ways to make it more pedestrian friendly, according to the plan. It also needed to seek out ways to get some dormant sites, such as a former BMW dealership, redeveloped or reused. The Bala Theater, an anchor, closed up in 2014 and siphoned off some of the activity the street had seen over the years.

In 2014, a separate zoning overlay was done for Bala Avenue that was not part of the one adopted for City Avenue since it has more of a neighborhood feel to it, said Terrence Foley, president City Avenue District.

City Avenue District spent $1.2 million trying to tackle some of the issues plaguing it. It invested in new lighting and improved pedestrian crosswalks in hopes to make it more attractive and spur some interest from developers but not much has happened until now, Foley said. “We’re excited about what Cross is proposing,” he said. “Bala needs a shot in the arm.”
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