It appears that proposed Rita’s water ice shop will be able open in the Chestnut Hill Plaza, 7630 Germantown Avenue.
At a Wednesday meeting of the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s Development Review Committee voted unanimously in support of the plan.
A previous agreement between the buildings owner and the CHCA had stated that the Plaza could not rent to a fast-food restaurant. Chestnut Hill retail recruiter Eileen Reilly said she didn’t believe the covenant was legally binding and that the CHCA could allow Rita’s to move in.
Also cheering on the water ice franchise were several neighbors to the Plaza who spoke out in favor of the water ice shop. Jason Frieland, who lives on the 100 block of Mermaid Lane, said there are 13 children under the age of 12 on his block alone and that families are looking forward to taking their kids to the business. “We’re really excited for Rita’s to come to the avenue,” said Friedland, who himself two children. “We hope other retailers will follow.”
But Friedland said although Rita’s is a good addition to the plaza, neighbors are concerned that the business could lead to trash being scattered around the area. A member of the DRC stated that Rita’s owner has promised to have an employee patrol the property for trash.
While the project received the DRC support, he still is seeking the approval from the CHCA Board, which is expected to make a decision on Monday, Dec 12.
The DRC wants Thain to abide to two other conditions:
* Rita’s will not be allowed a service window and illuminated signs, like all the other stores.
* To use removable outdoor seating to ensure there is no loitering after the franchise is closed.
Bredenbeck’s welcomes the competition
“I’ll walk a tray of cookies down when they come the to the Hill,” said Karen Boyd Rohde, owner of Bredenbeck’s Bakery and Ice Cream Parlor and member of the Business Association board. She told NewsWorks in an interview earlier this week that she’s glad to see some space on Germantown Ave. be filled. “I think it’s great and so much better than having a vacant building,” Boyd Rohde said she also doesn’t mind having a little competition when it comes to frozen treats. “Competition is so healthy,” she said. “Water ice and ice cream are a little bit different. We go with the gourmet ice cream, but water ice is excellent too.”
If the CHCA approves the Rita’s plan, the owner has said it could be open in February.