An economic impact study conducted by Select Properties Inc. found its proposed New Hanover Town Center will increase jobs and tax revenue in the area.
The 209-acre walkable village would “generate $3.4 million annually in new tax revenues for the Boyertown Area School District and create more than 550 new local jobs,” according to a press release from Select Properties, Inc.
Town Center is projected to be a mix of residential homes and commercial units. The proposal boasts a residential community of more than 600 units with 68 acres of open space and a commercial core component spanning over 315,300 square feet with dining, retail, and grocery stores for residents. Town Center would also bolster the local economy while also providing recreational opportunities for New Hanover residents and protecting green space, the release said.
“The economic impact study also indicated the proposed development will have a beneficial economic ‘ripple effect’ in the local economy, as the new residents and employees use goods and services in and around New Hanover Township,” the release stated.
The New Hanover Town Center project will also lead to a greater proliferation in employment opportunities for local residents in the form of construction-related jobs, which are not reflected in the economic impact study, said Ben Goldthorp, a developer for the project.
“We’re looking at roughly 500 to 550 new jobs to the local economy. And then we have the short-term benefit of the construction,” Goldthorp said. “It’s a 10-year build-out and that starts everywhere, from the site contractor to the home builder, the plumbing, contractor, electrical contractor, all of those contractors we will hire. That’s not included in our 500 jobs – the 500 jobs would be more associated with the retail core.”
The New Hanover Town Center has been awaiting township approval for 16 years, due to the bankruptcy of a previous developer and a downturn in the housing market. But Goldthorp is hopeful that Select Properties Inc. will be able to begin construction in 2022. Meanwhile, demand for housing has increased greatly in recent months.
“We’ve had some challenges in the past. But for the most part, I think we’ve overcome those challenges,” Goldthorp said. “Traffic always seems to be concerned, stormwater seems to be a concern. But at this point, we’ve jumped over those hurdles.”
Goldthorp added the property group has received permits from the Department of Environmental Protection and is working closely with PennDOT to institute improvements to the town center’s roadway plans.
On May 12, Goldthorp informed Douglass Township supervisors during a briefing that the project has received preliminary approval from the New Hanover Board of Supervisors. Douglass supervisors expressed concern that Town Center would result in increased traffic on Swamp Pike and East Philadelphia Avenue, according to an article in The Reporter.
The two roads see around 10,200 vehicle trips per day, which is expected to go up by about 5,000 vehicles per day once Town Center is complete according to estimates provided at the meeting. Goldthorp said PennDOT plans to adjust the timing of traffic lights to alleviate traffic congestion, The Reporter said.
“Those pieces are behind. We are really just looking forward to dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s and moving things forward with the town,” Goldthrop added.
He said the developers are committed to meeting community needs. The Town Center plan includes a bike trail to meet overwhelming resident support for one, as well as a community pavilion, playground space, and another 68 acres of open space.
The revised Town Center plan has been under review by the New Hanover Township since December 2019 and currently meets all zoning requirements, as well as the Townships goals and requirements, Goldthorp said.
“The Town Center achieves many of the goals set forth in the New Hanover Township’s Comprehensive Plan 2040,” Goldthorp said in the release. “With most residents currently leaving the township to meet their shopping needs, the new retail and grocery opportunities would deliver needed goods and services to the community.”
“Plans of this sort represent a growing trend that we expect will benefit New Hanover residents for generations to come,” Goldthrop added.