Iron Hill Brewery to use only half of the Express property


Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant could begin construction in May. Chestnut Hill residents learned this fact and other details about the new restaurant’s potential community impact during a recent meeting of the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s Development Review Committee. Officals with Iron Hill presented to DRC members Tuesday night the company’s plans for its newest location at 8400 Germantown Ave.

The regional franchise’s co-founders and lead architect discussed the details of an estimated $3.5 million renovation project. The 250-seat brewpub will fill the former site of Express, a national retail-clothing store for men and women.


Iron Hill to use only half of Express property

Neil Sandvold of Sandvold Blanda Architecture, a Center City-based firm, said Iron Hill will occupy about half of the old Express property, close to 11,000-square feet in all. The other half, which sits closest to Jos. A. Bank, a men’s clothing retailer, will be left open to leave room for one or two more storefronts.

The location will feature transom windows, and an open kitchen and beer brewing area, among other things.

With architectural renderings in tow, Sandvold assured nearby residents that the company’s ninth location would have a unique feel that fits well with the neighborhood.

“Each location is completely different,” said Sandvold. “They’re not cookie-cutter.”

“We’re very community-based,” added co-founder Mark Edelson.

DRC members and neighbors in attendance expressed some concerns, but were largely supportive of the company’s move to Chestnut Hill’s commercial corridor.

After looking over the location’s schematics, Greg Woodring, who co-chairs the DRC, cautioned Iron Hill about the scale of the building’s facade in a historic pedestrian-oriented area.

“It’s very important that the human scale be maintained on this and not the automotive scale,” he said.


Iron Hill customers will have access to a parking lot

Merri Brown, who’s lived nearby on Gravers Lane for more than 20 years, worried about parking in the immediate area around the property.

Co-founder Kevin Finn said Iron Hill employees will not be permitted to park in the 76-space lot that runs directly behind the building, but will be able to park in the Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation’s lots after 4 p.m.

Eight-year Hill resident Joanna Hoffman and others expressed excitement over Iron Hill’s future in Northwest Philadelphia.

“I feel like I bought a house in Chestnut Hill for the things that are coming in and the businesses. And we give up things like driveways and other things for that,” said Hoffman.

Edelson said if construction could begin as early as May, Iron Hill could open November 1. The restaurant will be open seven days a week and as late as 1 a.m. on weekends.

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