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Falls Rezones Portion of Shopping Center to Help Fill Vacancies

In an effort to help fill vacancies in the former Pathmark shopping center and make room for a new Wawa, the Falls Supervisors rezoned a portion of the shopping center, which is located at 500 Lincoln Highway.

Under the approved amendment, the intersection of Arleans Avenue and Lincoln Highway – a 2.036-acre parcel where Arosso, A Touch of Sicily is situated – switches from shopping center to highway commerical zoning. The zoning change allows for the planned demolition of the existing 6,000-square-foot Arosso building and relocation inside the shopping center and for a 5,585-square-foot Wawa with eight fuel pumps to be built in its place, the shopping center’s attorney, Julie Von Spreckelsen, told the Supervisors.

“These are old buildings,” Von Spreckelsen said. “They’ve been there for decades.”

The Supervisors unanimously approved the zoning ordinance amendment following a brief hearing. No one from the public commented during the virtual meeting.

Von Spreckelsen said the zoning change complements the “commercial corridor” on Lincoln Highway and maintains the “character of the neighborhood.”

“It’s consistent,” she said. “It’s good planning.”

In conjunction with the zoning change, the Falls Supervisors also unanimously approved a minor subdivision to carve out the 2-acre parcel from the 15.3-acre shopping center.

Falls Supervisors Chairman Jeff Dence said the shopping center owner would still need to return to the township for final approve and zoning relief.

Von Spreckelsen told the board that the roughly 190,000-square-foot shopping center has struggled to maintain occupancies. When the Pathmark closed, the shopping center lost its anchor tenant, as well as two other vacancies. The property owner made physical improvements to the property, yet still has 60,000 square feet of vacancies. The former Pathmark - where Funzilla is now located - took three years to fill.

“We’re trying to repurpose this center,” she said.

In other business, the Falls Supervisors granted preliminary and final land development approval for Truck Smart, 905 Lincoln Highway. Truck Smart intends to construct a 5,000-square-foot, one-story addition to allow for numerous overhead doors and better handling of repairs.

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