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July 25, 2007



I dared myself to stop in at the Penn View (at least the lobby) before it closed to see the place. I used to live near it on Penn Ave and was always curious. The clerk told me that rooms were $60 a night and that there was NO hourly rate. :-)

I did pick up some smoky postcards which mentioned the luxurious accommodations. What do you feel would be a good use of the space? There are nice pubs and restaurants very hear the spot, such as Brewer's and the 3rd & Spruce.

John Morgan

I recall the original plan was for a mix of shops and restaurants, various retail. What does that part of WR need? Maybe a small grocery store like Amelia's? I think that could be a good use.

Dan Sauder

I drove by the site the other week on my way to 3rd and Spruce and I must admit that the view overlooking Reading is quite wonderful.

I really think a mixed-use facility such as condos or apartments with retail or restaurants on the ground floor is the way to go and I hope that they can make that work.

Would a Trader Joe's be too much to ask for? :-)

John Morgan

A Trader Joe's? That would be too great to ask for!

David K

What you bring to light in this article is the need for longer-range and inter-governmental planning and coordination: this site is part of the "Entertainment Corridor" that is supposed to be the object of joint planning pursuant to the Initiative for a Competitive Greater Reading. We paid $500,000 for the excellent study and follow-on consultancy, but now we see various groups involved in unintegrated but well-meaning schemes. This needs to be addressed. All that said, Candlewood Suites is no Penn View, any more than a fine Martinelli is like boxed Gallo wine: they may occupy the same genre, but the audiences and impacts will be far different. We certainly do not need a mixed-use project there on two tiny acres; we get to see enough retailers' dreams dashed regularly on Penn Avenue. We need an anchor project, not a gob of small shops that come into and go out of business with the ebb and flow of the rest of West Reading's economic tides.

John Morgan

I think people are justifiably afraid of another motel/hotel project on that site. As they say, the Penn View, originally, wasn't what it wound up being.

People are thinking they were sold a bill of goods on this project because this isn't what was proposed when the public funds were used to buy and demolish the motel.

That area could use a good, small grocery like a Trader Joe's. Why not consider something on that order?

Good to hear from you though Dave.

David K

I disagree that we were sold a "bill of goods." We all agreed that we didn't want a whore-house and drug haven there. The mixed-used concept of condos, retail, etc. sounded nice, but on further study, the egress/ingress issues and off-corridor visability and small tract size are drawbacks. A Trader Joe's would be ideal! How do we recruit one, John? Or a Whole Foods store? I think something like that would be a great anchor project, offering great food at great prices. It would also draw folks that could support other mom-n-pop West Reading retailers. I'd be all for that!

David K

Sorry to comment again, but I have seen the Trader Joe's concept occupy a far smaller footprint than what is available at this site (Bethesda's TJ is on the second floor of a smallish building with perhaps 120 parking spaces, which it shares with a fine wine shop). Let's start a movement to recrute a Trader's or Whole Foods Market to our community. That would be absolutely awesome.

Thanks, John, for this forum and for all you do.

John Morgan

I was in a Whole Foods in Santa Fe. They're nice but quite pricey. Good question, how do we attract a tenant like that? We need to ask around.

There isn't much parking available at this location seeing it's only two acres. That isn't much area for things like mixed use.

Daniel Sauder

As soon as I wrote my comment about Trader Joe's I went to their website and submitted a request for them to look at this site.

I'm not exactly sure who you are "Dave K" but if you are a member of West Reading's Borough Council, I recommend exactly as you say and start a campaign to bring them in.

Just remember whose idea it was first! :-)

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