Eli Kahn admitted it was a bit anticlimactic to hold a ground-breaking ceremony on a site where work began months ago.
Nevertheless, Kahn and his business partners David Della Porta and Gary Toll—aka 237 King Partners LLC—invited local politicians and project backers to the East King Street redevelopment site to kick off the construction of new apartments and retail space.
"We're just as excited about this project today as we were when we began," Kahn told the group Tuesday afternoon, over the din of heavy construction equipment that continued to operate behind him.
Among the attendees were Malvern Mayor Jerry McGlone, members of Borough Council, Borough Manager Sandra Kelley, Willistown Township supervisor Norman MacQueen, and representatives from M&T Bank, which is financing the project. Each person got a chance to toss some dirt with a ceremonial shovel.
M&T Bank regional president Ira Brown said he grew up just down the street from the site, and attended Great Valley School District.
McGlone said the the project has been a long time coming.
"Obviously, we're thrilled. It' a wonderful project for the town. In this economy, to receive this scale of development is wonderful," McGlone said of the redevelopment, which will add nearly 200 apartments and 25,000 square feet of retail space to the east end of the borough.
"We'll still be Malvern Borough. We're just going to be able to do a little bit with the main street here, which will be, hopefully, good for the businesses and for everybody."
Della Porta said the project was the first of its kind in the Philadelphia suburbs.
"What I mean by that is, the first urban-esque, mixed-use, transit-oriented development," he said. "There's really nothing in Philadelphia suburbs like this, where you have retail-residential involved in a great existing place that already has a beautiful little town, the services and the train station within walking distance."