PHOENIXVILLE - The downtown may be getting a pair of new restaurants as part of expansion of two wildly successful local chains.
Kildare's of West Chester, Manayunk and King of Prussia, and Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant of West Chester, North Wales and Media, and Wilmington and Newark (both in Delaware), are both in negotiations to locate in the borough.
Both restaurants have been given credit for leading the boom of more than 50 eateries in West Chester, which has made the county seat a destination of diners from all of the Delaware Valley.
Dave Magrogan, of Kildare's, "An Authentic Irish Experience," along with musical entrepreneurs and partner, The Point, in Bryn Mawr, are seriously considering establishing a restaurant and concert venue at the Foundry Building.
Preliminary plans call for approximately 600 seats, a stage and several bars, with the possibility of adding a second mezzanine level.
The 13,000 square foot former Phoenix Steel Foundry Building is little more than a shell, with no plumbing or electricity . More than $4 million in grants and private donations have contributed to the renovation of the stone structure, which is currently controlled by the Phoenixville Area Economic Development Corporation (PAEDCO).
Magrogan referred to the Foundry Building as "incredible and unique." He recently said that renovations might cost as much as $5 million.
"It will be some of what makes Kildare's great and some of what makes The Point great," said Magrogan.
Iron Hill Brewery is considering creation of a new restaurant building at 130-136 Bridge Street, next door to the Columbia Bar and Grill.
Builder and Bridge Street property owner Manny DeMutis reserved comment for this interview.
Representatives of Iron Hill Brewery have studied the viability of locating a restaurant in Phoenixville, while co-owner Mark Edelson said that the Bridge Street property is one of "three or four" properties being considered, or locations where the company is "actively looking."
At Iron Hill's five breweries, 66 percent of the customer base are college graduates or post graduates while 92 percent have attended college.
Customer satisfaction is above average at current Iron Hill locations. For casual dining, 96 percent of Iron Hill customers would likely return and 97 percent referred to the food a good, very good or outstanding, while 99 percent of Iron Hill diners gave the same ratings for customer service.
PAEDCO board member Doug Murray stressed that negotiations are still underway, but that representatives of Kildare's had signed a Letter of Intent. He said that PAEDCO and Kildare's representatives will meet on Wednesday to discuss what he said were some "serious issues."
Murray advised that the public use "caution about this deal," said Murray. "I have reservations with this deal as I have with any deal where money hasn't yet exchanged hands."
Volunteer PAEDCO board member and Chamber of Commerce member Barbara Cohen refused to talk about specifics for the Foundry, but did say that she was enjoying negotiations with a "terrific group of people."
"I hope for a positive resolution of some issues very soon," said Cohen. "We're in final negotiations with the county, state and the prospective purchaser and hope for a possible resolution."
Borough Council President Jim Lolli (R- East) is hoping that both restaurants move to the borough.
"It will bolster our arts and entertainment district and will attract people from the surrounding areas to help our goal of turning Phoenixville back into a destination," said Lolli. "It should bring people into the town center rather than to King of Prussia and Exton."
Gretchen Metz contributed to this article.