West Oak Lane gateway project takes big step with OARC move to former Club Jaguar site

Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation employees will soon work under one roof at the new “Gateway Office Complex.” The location is so named because it’s seen as a welcoming gateway to West Oak Lane on land where the troublesome Club Jaguar once stood.

Located at 2504 W. Cheltenham Ave., the OARC offices are scheduled to open in December.

The acquisition was part of a $20 million private/public “Gateway to the Northwest” project which included the completion of the Ogontz Streetscape Initiative, renovation and redesign of the Cheltenham & Ogontz bus loop and modernization of the nearby Shop Rite grocery store.

The closure, acquisition and renovation of the club was viewed the final part of the project.

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Visibility is a benefit

Jack Kitchen, OARC’s CEO and president, said he is very excited about the move because it will make the organization more visible to the community.

“As we consolidate, everybody will nicely fit in the new building,” said Kitchen. “We will be able to deliver services on much easier basis. We will be like a one-stop shopping, almost.”

The staff currently works out of three locations including buildings on Haines and North 16th streets and Ogontz Avenue.

The 9,000 square foot office will feature a virtual file room, cloud-based accounting and glass modular office walls.

Trickle-down improvements

In addition to the new building, the project has created a ripple affect on the community, which Kitchen noted by citing the remodeling of nearby McDonald’s and Wendy’s restaurants, a new state-of-the-art laundromat which will replace the old Littleton’s Diner and a pharmacy in the former Arties building.

A nearby check-cashing location has also been torn down to provide additional Gateway Building parking.

“You shouldn’t know you are going from Montgomery County into Philadelphia,” he said. “It should be a seamless transition and I think we are very close to having that now. It doesn’t offend you to come into Philadelphia through that corridor now.”

Kitchen said he is optimistic that the corridor as a whole will bring new jobs, revenue and tax dollars into the community.

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