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We had to meet three daunting challenges with this design. The site straddles two townships with differing building laws. The new center had to compete with shopping centers located in nearby Delaware, which charges no sales tax. Finally, the project had to overcome resistance by area residents. Therefore, the developer decided to focus on a mix of clothing stores (whose merchandise is not subject to sales taxes) and convenience businesses (to make the shopping center indispensable to area residents). To attract these fashion-conscious shops and gain local support, we created an image of originality and quality.

The township line running through the site coincided with Springhill Road, a small road that led to residential developments off the main highway. To deal separately with each township, we created two related strips, each served by an expanded Springhill Road that runs between the buildings. The inside ends of these two structures flare out into octagonal anchor store plans; each of these wraps around to the back of the strip to maintain facade-quality views to entering patrons. These special spaces have attracted The Gap and Outback Steak House.

The view from the street features a series of tall, steeply hipped copper roof towers, carefully proportioned to work with the long retail strip. Under the canopy, we designed storefronts that intersect at angles, with large custom wood-and-glass designs for retailers with special needs. We carefully placed single and double columns along the walkway, and coffered the canopy ceilings. The octagonal motif repeats in the paving patterns and the cross sections of the canopy columns. Rooftop equipment was screened to protect residents behind the site from nuisance views.

This shopping center was the first one in the Philadelphia area to combine neighborhood convenience stores with high-profile national stores. The 153,000-square-foot development opened in the spring of 1990, and was a 1991 finalist in the retail category of the Commerce Bank-sponsored Building Excellence Awards.

Dever Architects | 22 Regency Plaza | Glen Mills, PA 19342
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© Dever Architects 2019