Kennett Square’s western edge busting with revitalization; ground broken on Cannery Row project

FRAN MAYE - DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA
Pictured at the groundbreaking ceremony (from left), Developer, Mike Pia holding Louie Pia, James Pinckney, a real estate agent for Zomnick McMahon, Tess Scott, and Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick.
FRAN MAYE - DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA Pictured at the groundbreaking ceremony (from left), Developer, Mike Pia holding Louie Pia, James Pinckney, a real estate agent for Zomnick McMahon, Tess Scott, and Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick.

KENNETT SQUARE >> About five years ago, officials in Kennett Square and Kennett Township agreed that if they cooperated on projects, costs could be reduced and the quality of life could be improved for residents of both municipalities.

Today, that agreement is paying big dividends.

Last week, ground was broken for a project called Cannery Row, an infill redevelopment project on the site of a former mushroom cannery, adjacent to Victory Brewing Co. on Mill Street. The site will consist of ground floor commercial spaces, a restaurant, one and two bedroom apartments, a common green area, a dog park an d access to walking trails. The first phase of construction will be completed in late spring.

The 5.2-acre property lies across the boundary between the Kennett Square Borough and Kennett Township, with 1.3 acres on the borough side and 3.9 acres in the township. The 36,000-square-foot development will include a mix of stores, offices, a restaurant, and two-story apartments.

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“We are trying to mimic the industrial architecture that you see at the Victory building to create four unique buildings with central green in the middle, a dog park, and access to walking trails,” said Mike Pia, the project’s developer. “This has come a long way from three little mushroom houses here almost a hundred years ago.”

Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick said he was so excited about the project, he leased office space at one of the complexes for his reality firm.

“I can tell you the Kennett Borough Council, along with the borough manager, and the township manager, the codes department, engineers, all got together and said (having the project located in two municipalities) will not be an issue for development, we will work together. I am thrilled borough council and the township supervisors over the last five or six years really came together, to look for the greater good and break down barriers.”

James Pinckney, a real estate agent for Zommick McMahon, said the first project will be three stories, have 14 apartments on the second floor with retail and office space on the first floor.

“We are really excited about this project,” he said. “We want to serve a local community with local shops. We aren’t looking for chains.”

Kennett Township Supervisor Scudder Stevens said cooperating with Kennett Square officials is a pleasure.

“When this (project) first came to a head, both the township and the borough got together and figured out how to do it without costing the developer an arm and a leg, with two engineers and everything else that would have had to be done,” he said. “I am very pleased with this collaborative effort.”

Pia said the project will greatly enhance Kennett Square’s western edge, which in recent years saw the addition of the Market at Liberty Place and Victory Brewing.

“We are fortunate enough to be in a time in Kennett where we have so many positive forces working together, and so many people working to make Kennett the best it can be,” Pia said. “It is undeniable as far as I am concerned that people want to be in Kennett.”

Limited office and retail spaces are still available, and those interested should contact Zommick McMahon Commercial Real Estate.

About the Author

Fran Maye

Fran Maye is an award-winning journalist and a graduate of Shippensburg University. He and his wife Marianne live in East Marlborough. He enjoys golf and is a 4.0 tennis player. Reach the author at kennettpaper@gmail.com or follow Fran on Twitter: @kennettpaper.