At a public hearing before the East Whiteland Board of Supervisors last Wednesday night, developer Brian O'Neill requested the township increase the maximum allowed height of principal structures in the Uptown Worthington develoment site.
The board eventually granted his request. During his presentation, O'Neill gave the board an update on what's planned for the development, which he said is gaining traction.
Here's a quick look at some of the things he mentioned:
- An "authentic" theme—"We came out of a period in 2001 to 2006, where everything was euphoric, everything was Disneyesque. Today, the business community has taken a complete 180."
- Businesses moving in—Orvis, REI, Wells Fargo, LG, LA Fitness, Starbucks, Redstone Grill, "Stephen Starr restaurants," Bobby [Flay] Burger Palace, Chipotle, Yardhouse and Le Pain Quotidien.
- 11 restaurants signed up so far—hitting all price points from Chipotle to a $200 white-tablecloth retaurant.
- An "employee life center" on the roof, which was the reason for the height increase at issue in the public hearing. The idea is modeled after a New York City trend. "You take the penthouse, you make it 15-feet tall as opposed to 9-feet tall. You put outdoor balconies around the penthouse, and you put your conference rooms, coffee bar, fitness center ... up on that roof" to attract technology industry employees, O'Neill said.
- Outdoor dining requirement—All restaurants have to provide outdoor dining. There will be about 400 outdoor dining seats throughout the site.
- Movie theater—A 50,000-square-foot, digital theater featuring individual leather seating, drinks and food.
- The theater will have an outdoor screen for movie trailers, public announcements, the Super Bowl, the inaugural address and the New Year's Eve ball drop.
- Fitness centers—A 2,000-square foot facility for the residents. A public facility will be open to the public, and featuring all kinds of fitness activities including karate, t'ai chi, yoga and spinning.
- A trail network will connect to the Chester Valley Trail, and sidewalks will be wide.
- Artistic bike racks will be featured throughout the streets. Garages will have bike rack clips, so bikes can be hung vertically on the wall while visitors shop or dine.
- A stream is already open and running, and a lot of outdoor dining is on stream.
- Subtle music and wifi internet will be pumped throughout the entire facility. There will be a "beat on street at all times," O'Neill said.
- All residential units will be apartments, though O'Neill said he hopes to some day convert them to condominiums.
The Board of Supevisors voted 2-0, with John Mott absent, to approve increasing the maximum height of principal structures at the location, to accomodate the rooftop "employee lifestyle center."
Board Chair Virginia McMichael had previously recused herself from voting on Uptown Worthington properties because her husband had been retained as legal counsel by the developers. After the meeting, she explained that she was participating in the discussions and votes again because her husband's work for O'Neill Properties has ended.