Tuesday, June 20, 2017

When Media was Media - "Peanut Shells Go On Floor"

Two years ago we first heard the rumblings that one of the most iconic restaurants in Media might be looking to sell.  That could easily be confused with the Plumstead Inn, and you would be sort of correct, but I’m talking about the Towne House Restaurant.

It’s hard to imagine it's been that long because not much has changed in those two years, as the former Towne House restaurant looks exactly as it did in 2015.  In fact, except for the torn American Flags out front that need to be taken down (please, take them down or replace), you might think this was all a big joke and the doors will re-open for happy hour any day now.   Well, that’s not happening but there is something happening, or at least being discussed towards what will be done with the property.  And it WON’T be a Victory Brewpub, in fact, there may not be any retail associated with what’s developed at all.

Towne House Stag Bar 2015
Apparently, the developers were by to see Media Borough and have informally shared some ideas they have with those in the industry.  What that entails is a lot of dwellings/units at the site of the former restaurant and across Baltimore Ave where they also own that property too.  And by “dwellings” I expect these to be apartments, not condo/townhomes.  

From what I understand the historic “Meeting House” will not be touched, but virtually everything else will on that footprint, which takes up a lot of that block.  I’ve heard as many as 50 dwellings on one side of Baltimore Ave and another 50 on the other side.  These numbers may be a bit conservative, but these many units put it on a level close to what we’ll see from the West End Flats. 

As I’ve been saying for a long time, there’s a lot of housing coming on the market in the next 18 months and developers are taking notice, if not feeling a twinge of uncertainty.  How could they not? They may not come out and say it, but their actions state otherwise which is the speculative reason behind the lack of notable movement on the Towne House.   Word is, they want to wait and see what happens here in Media before getting under way with a very big project.  I don’t blame them, I would too.

The project itself is going to need some zoning help also, which Media might not want to address just yet as I’m certain they also have some anxiety over all of this development.   Try to get an answer out of a Media elected official on any of the development happening.  You can't, they don't have an answer but will agree with you, whatever side you're on.

It’s my understanding the developer wants to do a height of 5 to 6 stories, with two levels being parking.  Whether that’s basement parking and the next floor up, I don’t exactly know but that limits, if not prevents, any retail floors.  Retail is not doing so well in Media and proposing space that might be used as another restaurant starts to get political.  Political how? Political in a way that Media Borough holds the negotiating power with the developer in bringing (or not) another restaurant to Media which many are finding saturated.

Oh, and about that liquor license!  Wouldn’t that be something if Trader Joe’s picked that up?  I’m told TJ’s is looking for one, or may even have one, but I’ve not been able to confirm that.  I’m not sure TJ’s could compete with the  PA state stores system on price as that may be regulated,  but could on convenience and volume.  Especially if they make a move on the old vacant Hallmark store next to them on State Street.

Remember when?  



  1. Nice article you describe media borough officials to a tee although yourr lucky they even return a phone call or even listen to you to begin with even residents that attend council meetings are told / this is not the time, a real shame our tax dollars earn us the right to be ignored It's time media borough pays attention to residents those that witnessed the council meeting on the pocket park will understand
    While the park might be a nice addition the borough, true cost of developing the property into a park will be 3.5 x the purchase price
    Also unclear if the back taxes were covered in the purchase price or not ?

  2. Is there a height limit in the borough? A friend who is afraid to post asked me to ask that question.

  3. Yes there is a height limit. It will be interesting to watch how the borough council handles this application. As I have stated before this council granted waivers to the west end flats and townhouses allowing addition units to be built. I don't recall all the waivers for the flats project. However, the townhouse project is on a dead end street and no more than 20 home are permitted on dead end streets (subdivision code 257-25). There are 26 homes in that project. Then council states that one of the reasons to buy the park is to limit development, which without a zoning change or waivers, granted by council, there could only be 3 houses on that park site. They also mentioned traffic and parking as an issue to justify the purchase. New homes require off street parking. If 3rd street was openned, like it should have been 10-20 yerars ago, that would certtianly help mitigate some traffic problem, certainly more than spending $350,000 to stop 3 homes.

    1. Your spot on and those who do get involved in building things know very well cost overruns are common the real cost for the park will be
      X 3 or 4 the purchase price

    2. A different set of rules applies it depends on who the applicant is ?
      The smart developers give money to the R's and D's You never know when Delaware county officials can call in a favor for a Media project in return for something media is so small it's hard to not see right through them

  4. Classic Vince, still bitter about the park.. It is a done deal, closed last week... Beautiful pocket park here we go! Thank you for your tax dollars at work buddy

    1. Mark your calendar the deal closed last week, how long before something happens can't wait to see the backhoes or at least the borough gardener so they can trim the poison ivy and maybe borrow the pump they're draining broomall lake with after a heavy rain maybe the fish remainjng could be relocated to the pocket park it is after all a depression or pocket with
      Soils that are basically impermeable in heavy rains

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