Special meeting held to discuss future of Plymouth Meeting Mall property. Apartments and pickleball are a possibility

Plymouth Township held a public forum on the future of the Plymouth Meeting Mall property on October 25th and approximately 60 members of the public attended (we didn’t include in that number the members of the township’s council, township staff and consultants, members of the zoning hearing board, representatives of the developers, etc.).

The presentation was much the same that has occurred over various hearings about apartments at the mall. PREIT is seeking to knock down the former IKEA office building and construct 300 apartments. The hearings for this are underway. Keystone Development + Investment, which was granted a conditional use by the township’s council in September, is approved (with conditions) to convert the office tower adjacent to the mall into 150 apartments.

In regards to the interior of the mall, a representative of the mall shared that it has been seeking non-traditional tenants for a mall property and has serious interest from a pickleball company and a large spa. It was implied that adding apartments to the mall property would help secure these type of tenants.

The same representative also shared a series of slides that showed how the flow of traffic would be improved. The big change proposed is that all traffic entering the mall from the main entrance from Germantown Pike would be forced to go right (meaning could not turn left as you can currently are allowed). This is projected to make exiting the property at this location faster and not result in backups on the ring road.

It was also acknowledged that the only way either apartment community could move forward is if there is an improvement to the system taking sewage off the property (this is one of the conditions required of Keystone to move it approved conversion of the office building to apartments).

There were questions from the attendees regarding what the target market is for the apartments and the impact on the school district. Representatives of PREIT and Keystone stated that the apartments would be market rate and pointed to studies that these type of apartments do not attract those with school age children.

Many of the comments/questions from the audience were in support of PREIT and their plan for apartments. There was very little pushback.

The meeting only involved a presentation and was not part of the approval process that PREIT is currently undertaking through the zoning hearing board.