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'Vacant 8 Years, Welcome to Malvern'

A borough vacancy gets a little public attention.

While big developments aren't always overly popular in the borough, at least one person is looking for someone for more business.

Several readers sent in this photo, taken of the vacant East King Street Property across from the Flying Pig in Malvern. In case you can’t make it out (or haven’t seen the sign yet) is reads “8 Years Vacant. Welcome to Malvern.”

Lifers: any idea what used to be here? Any inklings as to what would look good in this space? 

Kristin Volpe Thomas January 13, 2014 at 11:01 AM
I'd love to see a community art center that offers classes to all ages and has a coffee bar. A "patch" of green or a small public plaza would be great as a place for people to gather with a few benches and a fountain or statue/sculpture. Phoenixville, Wayne, West Chester all have thriving community arts centers. Phoenixville also has a children's courtyard in the middle of Bridge St - I spoke with them last year about a way to make it brighter with some community-funded art.
Amanda Bernstein Snyder January 13, 2014 at 11:18 AM
Would love a play cafe, another option for food, maybe sushi or desserts
Esg1123 January 13, 2014 at 11:25 AM
I would love to see a community center and a green space. This would be to perfect place for it! It would be an amazing addition to the borough and would certainly beautify King St.
Eduard January 13, 2014 at 11:29 AM
My vote is to knock it all down and build "Westside Flats".
Marianne Ruhl Nikas January 13, 2014 at 11:41 AM
A park, a park, a park!
Eileen Hudson January 13, 2014 at 12:46 PM
I lived on East Broad St. from 1946-1963..Walked across the bridge every day to school(St.Patricks)I believe that vacant building was a barber shop at one time...
Pete January 14, 2014 at 12:18 AM
It's privately owned so you can rule a "park" out. Current anti-development climate in Malvern is not conducive to anything happening soon.
Kristin Volpe Thomas January 14, 2014 at 08:36 AM
This property isn't good for any of the businesses in town. If I ventured up the hill from Rt 30 for the first time, to check out Malvern, I might turn right back around and go home upon seeing this block of run down nothing. It's sad nothing has happened here for a long time.
Independent Geoff January 14, 2014 at 08:43 AM
The buildings certainly need to be addressed. However, is the population large enough to support business's that depends on walk-in traffic? It doesn't appear the "Flats" square footage designated for business is being over subscribed at this point. We don't need new space sitting vacant. As for a park it would be an improvement but we have a park only a block away and a larger park only a few blocks west of it on Monument and neither seem to be over used by families with children. The establishments that seem to do best in Malvern are restaurants and drinking establishments, think Alba and The Pig. A restaurant catering to families would be wonderful if families would support it. But Christopher's in "The Flats" is focused on that segment of the population - how many family places can an area no larger than Malvern support? How well did the pottery store do in Malvern that was once in the general area of the Home Store? Why did it leave? We need solutions but they must be well thought through and some mentioned may well be part of the options.
Kristin Volpe Thomas January 14, 2014 at 09:59 PM
Geoff - I am thinking small public plaza or courtyard, not park. Agreed, Burke park is right around the corner. I've heard some in the community wish for more parking or even a garage and their desire to be able to park is very valid. We have a lot of Americana and Italian eating establishments. How about a fun Mexican place with some outdoor seating in the plaza. What do other towns have that draw customers in, that we do not? I love this conversation.
Pete January 14, 2014 at 10:42 PM
Might be useful to start thinking about how to fund a purchase of the property. In the short term, I wonder if there is a way to clean it up a bit just to get rid of the eyesore.
nabob January 14, 2014 at 10:54 PM
Speculator bought it. Economy crashed and there it sits
Dot T. January 15, 2014 at 08:34 AM
Nate: Any progress in finding who owns this building? How does the Mayor and borough council feel about this building? When was it last inspected-is it safe? A health hazard? A fire hazard? Not just an eye sore but a danger to our community?
carol ray January 15, 2014 at 09:07 AM
I would think the owner should have the responsibility for the upkeep and and I would also think if he isn't going to do anything with it he would put it up for sale,,,originally I heard it was a young guy from west chester ...maybe he thinks sitting on it will bring more money in the end but it could backfire and become an elephant that is more trouble than it's worth...
Norman sowell January 15, 2014 at 11:30 AM
This property should be leveled. It is invaded with rats!
Zack Josephs January 16, 2014 at 12:56 AM
Malvern lacks a mall. Subsequently, there's no place for the "mall rats" to thrive. That's not completely true, there is the library, but lord knows these kids aren't interested in books (it doesn't help that it's attached to a police-station either). So instead they've made their nest and settled into the pavilion over the past few years. Ideally this lot could be converted into a public space, somewhere these kids can take over. You don't even need to do anything to it. One poster mentioned that the building has asbestos. That's perfect. Maybe then I could drive through Malvern without having to see a game of hackie-sack or a failed kick flip. It's 2014 people, our pavilion wasn't built to be an eyesore!
Regina DiLabbio Klugh King January 17, 2014 at 08:40 AM
There are plenty of parks for kiddies to play in throughout the Borough environs. A wonderful Library. Stores of all sorts to purchase clothing of all sorts from top shelf to consignment offerings. Food offerings, antique & furniture shops, WaWa -- Malvern's got it all! Hooray for MalvernWood -- the amusement park that keeps on amusing! Put a ticket booth in that desolate spot; sell t-shirts and disposable cameras (to take photos of disposable memories of the Malvern Past by the minute). And jump in your car and take part in the Daily Traffic Jam Ride at all points entering/exiting town! Hooray for MalvernWood!!!!
Jackie January 17, 2014 at 05:04 PM
If I recall correctly, the pottery place left because their lease wasn't renewed and they were planning on knocking down all the buildings back then. And then they didn't. And then UpHome came in. It was a very cute store space. As was the video store next door. I used to love walking down there with the family to rent movies. It's great for people of any age to live in a walking town. And with the traffic being so nuts, there's more reason to want to have great places to walk to so you don't have to get in your car. I think greenspace is a benefit to any town. A plaza would be nice, flanked by an ice cream store and coffee shop. I'd love to be able to eat my ice cream on a bench while watching kids play hacky sack or even skateboarding. ;) I love that the kids at that awkward age are out and about. The aren't as scary as you think, once you get to know them. As a matter of fact, most people aren't given the chance. Remember that little house on the 200 block of West King Street that was abandoned and the woman claimed it was a "garden"? She even went so far as to put a sign in the window to declare it as such. I believe that the borough fined her regularly for infractions and she would fight it. I guess she finally gave up the fight and sold because it was demolished and those houses that are too big for their lots are there now. Perhaps the borough could fine this property owner. There has to be a law about a tree growing out of the roof, right? Although my husband claims it is a weed growing out of the rain gutter, but still...
Jackie January 17, 2014 at 05:50 PM
I like the different people in Malvern. Last I checked, the Main Line ended in Paoli. I hope we don't become a town that thinks it's too good for "certain people". Geeze. What's wrong with people sitting on benches? Is there a time limit? What people do we want sitting on our benches? Should we sell timed tickets? And only to those we deem worthy? What makes you better that these two people you are referring to who enjoy the benches?
nabob January 17, 2014 at 08:33 PM
Jackie. The Main Line keeps better further out as the years go by and memories fade. It was never in, near or ending at Paoli. It ended somewhere back near Berwyn although others will probably chime in and correctly say say it ended at Devon.
Dot T. January 18, 2014 at 12:32 PM
I agree with Jackie! What is the borough doing about this building and holding the owner accountable? Nate Adams: any progress on finding who owns the building?
Regina DiLabbio Klugh King January 18, 2014 at 01:31 PM
Jackie: Go back and read the history of Malvern. The Quakers who founded it DID NOT WANT the hustle and bustle of the Main Line invading their little plot of Heaven up on the Malvern Hills! Specifically refused the PA Railroad of installing the carbarns in the borough; hence, they wound up in Paoli. Forbade the sale of liquor in town. I have no problem with the people to whom you refer sitting on the benches. It isn't their fault that no one else is sitting there. You see the same thing happening in BIG CITIES LIKE PHILLY -- which Malvern in emulating. I sat on those front steps of the house next to the barbershop and watched traffic & counted cars for fun back in the late 1940's. That was when only five or six cars went up or down King/Bridge in an evening! We walked all over town then, too. It's all a part of Malvern's history long before everybody decided to reinvent it as a walking community nowadays! We gazed upon the ruins of the old Hires Root Beer Factory and Plastomatic (now Sheffield Furniture) and watched the clientele go in and out of Lou Thomas' bar for our entertainment! Kids played at each others' houses all over town; doors never needed to be locked. So, grab an aluminum lawn chair and pitch it in front of the barbershop and have a ball! Cheers to the New Malvern!!!
Kristin Volpe Thomas January 19, 2014 at 09:26 PM
Malvern has a wonderful history, but it's not fair to the struggling businesses in town that come and go to have a block of vacant buildings at the center of our charming Borough. I applaud all efforts to make our town all that it can be - more family friendly, beautiful, walkable. The next generation who wishes to improve our town for our children who we are raising here would like it to be more successful and nice. I'm happy that many of us see it's potential. Times change and hopefully Malvern changes too - vacant buildings aren't a representation of our history or hope for our future.
Kristin Volpe Thomas January 19, 2014 at 09:29 PM
I believe Burke Park was an improvement for our Borough that was built to replace Bishop Tube - I certainly hope people supported that project back in the day.
Amanda Bernstein Snyder January 19, 2014 at 09:50 PM
They haven't invented time machines yet so I think it's time to accept the fact that towns change. If you want to escape the "hustle and bustle" of malvern the country is not too far away. Why would anyone fight to keep a rat infested dilapidated building from change except to just make an argument.
carol ray January 20, 2014 at 12:58 AM
I didn't think rats would hang around if there was no food there? And doesn't the owner have to pay a fine I the building isn't kept up?
Rezzy Dent January 20, 2014 at 02:51 PM
Keep it as a reminder of the toilet that Malvern was until the 80's.
Kristin Volpe Thomas January 20, 2014 at 05:40 PM
Kiss and Make Up just closed and so did One Stop Kids Shop. Sad.
carol ray January 28, 2014 at 10:51 PM
I noticed that kiss & make up was gone..didn't even notice the kids shop but prices were pretty high when I went in there once...paid $17 for a tiny little 6 inch high cloth princess doll and that was the cheapest thing I could find..it's hard to guess what might make it and what might not
carol ray January 31, 2014 at 08:49 AM
I just happened to notice yesterday the snow hasn't been removed from their sidewalks...don't most people get fined for that?

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