If you drive down Sycamore Street, you can’t miss it: the decaying former Acme supermarket that has become what seems like a permanent eyesore.
The Acme on Sycamore Street has been closed since the early 2000s. In 2009, the township approved a plan for a mixed-use development called The Promenade, which features residential units as well as retail. The developer for this project is McGrath.
However, despite the fact that the applicant came before the township in late summer pleading for zoning relief to scale back the plan – and was granted that relief by the zoning board just months later – little activity has been seen on the site.
The sign that previously advertised the future development and provided contact information for the sales department has been removed and construction vehicles are nowhere to be found.
Newtown Township Board of Supervisors Chairman Mike Gallagher said it’s not the just the residents who are in the dark about the project – the township’s leadership has “heard nothing” from McGrath.
Despite attempts to reach out, “we’re getting no answers from them. We can’t get a clear answer on where they’re at (with the project),” Gallagher said.
McGrath representatives did not respond to Patch’s requests for comment, however a salesperson that answered the phone said she had no information as to when information about The Promenade would be available.
Gallagher said the stalemate puts the township in a tough place. Since the land is private property, there’s not much they can do, he said.
“We can keep in touch with them and help speed them along,” he said. But with a lack of communication, that strategy has so far proven fruitless.
In August, representatives for the applicant came before the township proposing to amend the existing plan because of a change in the market. The new plan, which the Zoning Hearing Board approved in November, has less retail and smaller residential units. It’s 20,000 square feet smaller than the original 83,000-square-foot plan.
“If we can’t make it happen quick, we can’t make it happen,” Jim Worthington, a project investor, told the supervisors in August. At that same meeting, Worthington added that if the amended plans are approved quickly, construction could begin in a matter of months.
However, nearly five months have passed since the township approved the amended plans.