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Shopping Center at the Arsenal No More

We had a controversy back in November with two developers trying to get the same ShopRite for their projects.  The Shopping Center at the Arsenal (Hankin Group) thought they had it locked up and then found they had signed with the Shoppes at Wissinoming (FC Development Group).  The bottom line was that ShopRite then decided to pass on both.  Meanwhile behind the scenes work was afoot to bring Dietz & Watson meat packing facility which had burned down in Delanco, New Jersey to the Arsenal.

That plan was successful and now the Hankin Group has sold most of the ground that would have been a shopping center to Dietz & Watson or the PIDC for other development.  So there will be no shopping at the Arsenal but who can complain about jobs.   No news yet on the status of the Shoppes at Wissinoming though.  With all the development on Aramingo Avenue South of Bridge Street who needs to go up into a more densely populated residential area.

Follow this link to an in depth story on how all this came about and kudos to Bobby Henon.

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Shopping Center Controversy

Both Developers Need a ShopRite

The issue that has caused the Hankin Company to oppose the Shoppes at Wissinoming comes down to the ShopRite.  There were plans for it to go into the Arsenal but they have now signed a non binding letter of intent to go into the Wissinoming center.  Both centers need a supermarket and ShopRite appears to be the only one interested.

To be sure there are legitimate issues with the site of the Shoppes at Wissinoming which would be located on the old SKF plant at Tulip and Aramingo.

At the NAC meeting on November 14th, the shopping center feud continued.  An engineering company report critical of the design of the Shoppes at Wissinoming was discussed. The issues are safety, environmental and traffic congestion.  The center will attract as many as 1500 new cars to the neighborhood.  That part of Aramingo Avenue is already congested with the overflow of traffic coming onto local streets to bypass I-95 reconstruction.  It will also create about 500 permanent jobs.

Carl Freedman of the FC Development Group LLC, the developer of the Wissinoming center, responded to the report.

(a)    Traffic congestion – Carl had a traffic engineer study the traffic situation and that the area would not be more congested than usual. The city is studying the implementation of speed bumps ant changing the flow of traffic on the side streets entering the Shopping Center.  This could in fact improve traffic over what it is now.

(b)   Neighbors directly across the street from the development are thrilled about the added lighting and security the development would bring.

(c)    Water runoff – With the of implementation of Green Technology there will be an added improvement of that concern.

On the safety and environmental issues, the audience seemed satisfied.  However, the is no arguing that there will be more traffic going into the shopping center.  However Freedman points out that this if from the local area. It is not a regional shopping center like the Arsenal that will bring in shoppers from long distances.

There is some question as to whether the local neighbors are fully aware of the impact of the development will have on traffic on their streets and some were not aware that a development was planned.

Mark Hankin from the Hankin Management Company spoke on behalf of the Shopping Center at the Arsenal.  The Arsenal center will be three to four times larger than the Wissinoming center, however it is located far from a residential area.  It will create as many as 2,000 permanent jobs when fully built out.

The NAC had previously voted to support the Wissinoming development and indicated they have no intention of changing that decision.  The audience supports having both developments moving forward.

To get more information about this issue, there is a meeting on Tuesday, November 19th at 7PM at the Chateau Caterers at 5121 Tulip Street.  This is sponsored by the Hankin Company.


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Shopping Center Controversary at Frankford Civic

No zoning cases were on the schedule for the Frankford Civic Association meeting on November 7th so the entire meeting was used in discussion of two proposed shopping centers in the area.

Mark Hankin, President of the Hankin Management Company made a presentation on their proposed Shopping Center at the Arsenal.  The shopping center would total 500,000 square feet.  Site preparations has been underway for some time with opening of the initial stage scheduled for late Summer of 2015.  The entrance will be Tacony Street North of Bridge Street.

The last part of the meeting was used to discuss the Shoppes at Wissinoming, another proposed shopping center in the area to be located at Tulip St. and Aramingo Avenue.  Allegations made are that the site is too small for the size of the development, it would create too much traffic for an already congested neighborhood and there are environmental issues.

The 30 residents at the meeting were very interested in the issues raised but noted that the Wissinoming developer was not present to respond to those issues.

Residents interested in hearing both sides of this issue are invited to attend the Frankford Neighborhood Advisory Committee meeting on November 14th at 2nd Baptist Church at 1801 Meadow Street at 7PM.  Both developers have been invited and say they will attend.

Also at the meeting:

  • Police bike patrols are active on the streets close to Frankford Avenue.
  • A license for a club at 4721 Oxford Avenue was denied by L&I.  This location has been opening without a license off and on for several months.

The next Frankford Civic Association meeting will be held on Thursday, December 5th at 7PM at Aria Hospital.