Real estate brokers were received by Manny DeMutis, Main Street Manager Barry Cassidy and members of the Phoenixville borough council and planning commission. The cocktail hour presentation showed brokers why Phoenixville was the area their clients wanted to develop in, as well as providing networking contacts.

"We do this in different areas of the tri-state area to let people know what's going on," said Arlene Esposito, TriState executive vice president. She added this Specialty Council Meeting was focused on retail.

Approximately 70 businesses were represented as being interested in and coming to learn more about Phoenixville, including Kildare's, the Iron Hill Brewery and many bistros and specialty stores. The establishments were commercial, meaning they create jobs in the area.

The event was an open house to let people see the area. Manny DeMutis hosted the presentation and gave walking tours of the town.

DeMutis stressed Phoenixville's marketing ability and retail opportunities. He said there is approximately 120,000 square feet of commercial space being constructed or planned for construction, and 90,000 square feet of office space. About 210,000 people live in the surrounding high traffic flow area with an average income of $80,000, according to DeMutis.

"This is a great opportunity for us to showcase town," said Jim Lolli, Phoenixville borough council president.

"Phoenixville is a secret not many people are aware of," Lolli said. "We're enticing people to invest in our town."

"Phoenixville is ripe for the picking," said John Messina, Phoenixville borough council vice president and planning commission chairman.

Messina added how dedicated Phoenixville was to develop the town, including a future new justice center and borough hall.

"People should look at Phoenixville as the up-and-coming place in Chester County," said Messina. "We're doing what's necessary to revitalize this town."

"Hopefully this will influence more people to come into town," said Councilman Jim Del-Nero. He added the borough council's goal was to improve Phoenixville, and they needed more people like Barry Cassidy and shop owners to things get done.

"It all boils down to getting people to understand how great Phoenixville is," said DeMutis.

Barry Cassidy spoke of promotions, economic development and the improvements to the Phoenixville area. A parking garage is in the process of being funded, which will potentially be located behind Bridge Street.

The Arts and Entertainment Committee is in the process of aesthetically revitalizing the area. The Phoenixville Streetscape project has a proposed budget of $1,972,607.50. $1.3 million is from the county, and another million is coming from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). Among other improvements, sidewalks will be widened and decoratively redone, raised crosswalks will be constructed and benches will be installed. The program will promote future alfresco dining.

Phoenixville will become an entertainment district. Films and live music events will draw in people to the community. The first floor uses of the 200 block of Bridge Street will be zoned only for retail, dining and entertainment. Patrons walking through town will be able to appreciate the arts and architecture and be provided with numerous options before and after their evening entertainment.

The Phoenixville area is growing in homes, businesses and culture. The French Creek Center is going in, with homeowners wanting a commercial area within walking distance.

Messina emphasized the fact that all of the potential buildings have all been approved, and there are no processes to go through.

"We (the planning commission) can be very accommodating if the developers can be creative. The new projects in town are good examples of how creative we can be," said Messina. "We're on board."

This area offers an expanding trail system and a walking-accessible town.

"Our advantage is we have so many more amenities," said DeMutis.

"It's really a great time to be here," DeMutis said. "We're finally in a place where we can deliver a product."

Major retailers expressed intent in Phoenixville after the presentation. The area is expanding, and the arts and entertainment district is becoming a crucial part of town.

"This is the beginning," DeMutis said.

The Brokers Open was sponsored by Legend Properties and the DeMutis Group.

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