Top 5 Northwest Philadelphia development stories of 2011 — No. 2

In Northwest Philly’s neighborhoods this year, you didn’t have to shop around very far to find tasty stories about land use and development. And some of the meatiest were somehow related to grocery stores — though despite many neighbors’ fervent hopes, not a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe’s among them.

This week, NewsWorks and Plan Philly will bring you five of the juiciest stories among them. Here is the second:

8200 GERMANTOWN AVE.: In Chestnut Hill, there was disagreement of a different kind over grocery shopping than nearby Germantown’s Save-A-Lot debate.

In this case, neighbors debated whether a planned The Fresh Market store would siphon business away from the Weaver’s Way co-op, a beloved local institution. Others questioned whether Richard Snowden’s new $30 million mixed-use development, which the store would anchor, is too big and dense for the former Magarity Ford property.

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This, too, involved questions about whose interests outgoing City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller was serving in Council, as Snowden’s plan required three bills to re-zone the property and make other changes needed to clear the way for the 8200 Germantown Ave. development. After nine months of negotiation with the Chestnut Hill Community Association and its various committees, Bowman Properties’ plan, first introduced in April, didn’t change much.

The final version, approved by the City Planning Commission and City Council in their last meetings of the year, includes retail space topped by 17 condo units along Germantown Avenue, with the market and parking lot in the middle and eight townhouses at the rear of the site, fronting Shawnee Street.

Coming tomorrow: Bakers Centre.


Contact Amy Z. Quinn at

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