PHOENIXVILLE — Appraisal figures for a swap in properties between the borough and a developer revealed the borough came out roughly $1.4 million ahead on the deal.
Borough Manager Jean Krack said the appraisal for the old borough hall site came in around $525,000 while the site Phoenix View LLC originally planned to develop into a senior community named Friendship Village was valued at $1.9 million.
The borough and Phoenix View agreed to trade their respective sites in past meetings. Phoenixville gave the developer the old borough hall property to build its senior community in exchange for the site previously owned by the Friendship Fire Company adjacent to Friendship Field.
When Krack read the figures at Tuesday night’s council meeting, some in attendance audibly gasped.
Council voted 7-0 to finalize the deal after a required public hearing closed. Council President Jim Kovaleski abstained from the vote because his law firm represents Phoenix View.
Several council members commended the borough’s administration and staff for getting the deal in place.
In past meetings, borough officials and council members said they hope to use the newly-acquired property along Franklin Avenue to make improvements to Friendship Field.
Although the borough will gain a piece of property that is valued higher, Krack said he feels Phoenix View gained a lot for its own purposes.
With the old borough hall property just a block off of Bridge Street downtown, Krack said it is a very walkable location from which the future senior residents will greatly benefit.
“It’s a win-win for both sides,” he said.
Originally, Phoenix View planned to build “workforce housing” at the site on the borough’s north side but met heavy resident resistance last summer.
Earlier this year, after the plan shifted to senior housing, residents turned out again citing concerns about water management, among other issues, at the property.
The old borough hall site, which has been vacant since last summer, may be classified as a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) site, which means Phoenix View will receive a tax abatement on the project.
Currently, the tax abatement is not in place because the Phoenixville Area School Board did not approve other sites approved by council.
An OK is required from both Phoenixville’s council and the school board as well as Chester County, eventually.
It appears that the school board is in favor of approving the tax abatement at the old borough hall site but not in some other sites council approved due to potential increased student populations they could cause.
Check a Twitter recap of this council meeting here.