What Happened Next: Chelten Plaza

NewsWorks went back to check in on several of the stories it covered in 2012. These “What Happened Next” updates will run throughout December.

Subway will open Chelten Plaza shop, existing bank location to expand offerings, Oct. 26.

The Story: The back-and-forth controversy surrounding Chelten Plaza may have quieted since the Save-A-Lot supermarket officially opened last December. But, the activity at Chelten and Pulaski has not. Over the course of the year, a Deal$ store, Anna’s Linens, Citibank and Wired Beans coffee shop have opened and operated at the once-embattled site.

In October, developer Pat Burns confirmed that a Subway and yet-named-publicly sneaker shop would soon be opening, and the bank branch would be expanding its services, as well.

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What Happened Next: Pat Burns, the developer who helmed the project, said he can’t yet announce those new tenants “because they haven’t signed leases yet, but we’re very excited about them.”

As for the overarching sentiment looking back a year removed from the plaza’s opening, he noted some reticence.

“It’s gone a little slower than I expected,” he said of filling the vacancies. “I think the economy, and with the uncertainty, retail businesses are still a little tentative.”

Yvonne Haskins, the community activist and attorney who was prominent in the Chelten Plaza opposition movement, said that she hoped Burns interpretation was right, but that she thinks there’s more to it than the economy.

“It’s hard to say whether the market they anticipated is there. There is not a full parking lot like there is at Pathmark. The store adjacent to Wired Beans is still vacant. When we did PARK(ing) Day there, it was apparent during the day, and a few times that I’ve been in and out of Wired Beans. It’s not very busy.”

Haskins continued that she doesn’t “think they meet that mark” of consumer demand projected for the plaza.

“I don’t want to appear, since I was one of the people leading that opposition, that I’m being critical, saying ‘I told you so.’ But, anyone would say [there does not appear to be a large crowd there],” she said, noting that she hoped progress would spread east on Chelten Avenue. “We hope, pray, that it survives and thrives. We all do. It doesn’t do anybody any good for that place to go dark. We’re all cheering for it to succeed.”

If you have any stories from 2012 that you’d like NewsWorks to follow up on, let us know at nwproducers@whyy.org

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