Neighbors coming around to Chestnut Hill’s towering 8200 Germantown Avenue project

They fought the zoning, the density, the size, and the impact of the construction process. But four years after the battles began over 8200 Germantown Avenue, the immediate neighbors are mainly at peace with what they will soon have.

The $30 million project that includes a Fresh Market, additional retail space along the avenue, and 17 condominiums on the four floors above the stores are scheduled to be completed by March 2016. The market may be open as soon as this fall.

Will Detwiler, board president of the Chestnut Hill Community Association, said he hasn’t heard complaints about the construction or other issues related to the site in recent months.

Residents remember when the block was home to the Magarity Ford dealership, and its car repair shop had bays opening onto Hartwell Lane. “They’d be out there with machinery all day long. We were living five blocks away at the time, and we could hear it,” Detwiler said. “People came to realize there was a more desirable alternative.”

Court battles

The car dealership closed in 2008, and the building stood vacant for several years, turning into an eyesore on Chestnut Hill’s commercial corridor. When Bowman Propertries proposed a retail and residential complex on the site, nearby residents raised objections to the plans.

They formed the Adjacent Neighbors Association and challenged zoning legislation that allowed the mixed-use project. They lost that fight.

But they gained concessions from developer Richard Snowden on the building’s footprint and height, building materials, and other aspects that would affect their quality of life, including the way the construction work would be conducted.

The neighbors stayed engaged throughout the planning stages of the building, Detwiler said. “The facades are going up now, and I think they can see it’s quality stuff.”

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