LOWER MERION – The parking lot of the building formerly known as the GSB Building at City and Belmont Avenues could soon undergo significant changes.
Under a plan outlined this week, Keystone Development + Investment, the owners of One Belmont Plaza, plan to construct two new buildings for apartments and retail space in the front parking lot along City and Belmont avenues.
Peter Sikora, vice president of the Bozzuto Development Company, said the plan includes adding 274 apartments with about 14,000 square feet of amenity space and 30,000 square feet of ground-floor street-activating retail. The retail will include a grocery store. There are also plans for a 17,000-square-foot gathering space where they plan on hosting community events such as farmers markets, food truck events and musical performances.
“With this development, we’re going to create a walkable, pedestrian-friendly environment that doesn’t exist today that many of you can enjoy for years to come,” Sikora said. “We’ve spent much time working closely with the township planning staff as well as the adjacent redevelopments to refine and make sure it truly benefits and serves the community as a whole and not just the residents of our project or the office.
According to Sikora, about 70 percent of the apartments would be studio and one-bedrooms, with the rest being two-bedroom apartments.
Parking will be accommodated with a new 660-space garage and some street parking.
“What we intend to do is with this is to create a central green with buildings right up against the street and really create wonderful sidewalks that are activated with retail and residential lobbies and open spaces,” said Bob Keane with WDG Architecture.
The two new buildings would be constructed in front of the current office building in the parking lot along Belmont Avenue from City Avenue to St. Asaphs Road.
Building “A” at St. Asaphs would have residential units along Belmont Avenue and St. Asaphs.
Building “B” would be located along Belmont and City Avenue and consist of 30,000 square feet of retail space. Much of the retail space will be in a large block along City and Belmont avenues. They have plans to include a grocery store in that space with prepared foods.
“The intent is for there to be a cafe, and the idea … is that there are tables and chairs and activities spilling out onto City Avenue and Belmont,” Keane said.
Sikora described the grocery store as a 25,000 small-format grocery store that is not quite as big as a Wegmans, but will have fresh produce and prepared food.
“It is not a convenience store by any means, it’s a grocer, and it will be a recognizable name. We’re not at liberty to reveal it just yet, but we’re talking to first-class operators in the region, and I think it’ll provide quite an amenity to the residents in the area with the offerings that will be available there,” Sikora said.
Between the two buildings is a public gathering space.
Under a schedule as outlined by township officials, the tentative sketch plan would go to the planning commission on April 4 with a conditional use hearing on April 7. On May 11, the building and planning committee would consider both the tentative sketch plan and the conditional use plan. On May 18, the commissioners will then review the plans.