Love ’em or loathe ’em, new walk-to-train-and-shopping apartment buildings are dropping anchor in our downtowns: Paoli, Berwyn, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Ardmore, Narberth, Bala and beyond.
Notable exceptions, at least for now: Devon, where plans to build a rental complex near the horse show kept shrinking, then disappeared altogether, and Gladwyne, where neighbors lawyered up to kill an apartment proposal and will get a food market instead.
Well, family-friendly Wayne may be next.
And the face of its downtown – for good or ill – would never be the same.
A developer has drawn up plans to replace a portion of Wayne’s main parking lot behind Wayne Presbyterian Church with a four-story rental complex. The 54-ft. building, for now dubbed “Waynewood” because it would bestride Waynewood Ave., would be tall alright, but still shorter than the church steeples and the nearby A T & T building, according to Radnor Commissioner Jack Larkin.
We know what you’re thinking: Isn’t parking in Wayne tough enough on busy nights and weekends?
Actually, the town’s parking capacity technically would remain the same. The lost surface spots would transfer to the complex’s below-grade parking decks.
The developer, Radnor Property Group, has had preliminary talks with Radnor Township but has yet to submit formal land-development plans.
That’s because the parking lot’s owner, Wayne Presbyterian Church, is in the driver’s seat.
The church’s Session (leadership) has been exploring ways to unload the .75 acre lot and has given “provisional approval to the RPG project to facilitate informal feedback from the township,” according to a letter to church members that was obtained by SAVVY.
The church stands to make bank on the deal, which looks to be a 99-year ground lease, not an outright sale.
Seems the current lot is not exactly a cash cow. The church splits parking proceeds 50/50 with Radnor Township and makes less than $40,000/year on the lot, according to the letter signed by Doug McBrearty, chair of Wayne Presbyterian Church’s administration committee.
“It’s a very valuable real estate parcel,” McBrearty writes. “Some may consider a parking lot not the highest and best use of the property.”
His letter also calls the parking lot a “stormwater liability, causing an increasing amount of damage to church buildings and contributing to Radnor Township’s stormwater issues.”
In his newsletter laying out what he sees as the pros and cons of the deal, Radnor Commissioner Jack Larkin also called it a win for flood-prone homes and businesses: “The parking lot is not controlled for stormwater. RPG proposes to fully control the site’s stormwater runoff, as well as the stormwater in the adjacent township-owned parking lot to the north.”
The church is also considering aesthetics. “The lot does not present an attractive, convenient, or welcoming approach to the main entrance to our church buildings,” McBrearty’s note reads.
In his list of pros, Larkin mentions the boon to local businesses. “Adding 54 dwelling units will have a significant and positive impact on businesses in Wayne at a time when they could use the help.”
Throwing the town a bone, the developer might re-stripe the adjacent parking lots to the north to add spaces, Larkin notes.
On the flip side – and there is always a flip side with projects like this – folks will no doubt voice concerns about impacts on already overburdened roads, schools and first-responders, not to mention how it will fit in aesthetically with the surrounding buildings.
There’s also the matter of density – a hot topic in neighboring Easttown of late. Current blueprints show 54 dwelling units. By comparison, Berwyn Square will have 107 apartments and the giant Piazza project in Ardmore will have 297. (We won’t even get into the 757 new apartments in three, 13-story towers in Bala Cynwyd currently under review in Lower Merion because that city-side burb is a whole other kettle.)
We hear plenty of questions were raised at a special town hall that Wayne Presbyterian held with its members last month. As non-members, we weren’t allowed to attend.
“It is still too soon to talk to folks outside of the members of Wayne Presbyterian Church,” McBrearty tells SAVVY. “We are still working through our internal discussions about the project.”
Those internal discussions, SAVVY has learned, will be led by an 8-member steering committee that will gather info and evaluate options. The project will only advance after the full membership votes to approve it.
The developer is staying mum, too. Radnor Property Group CEO Dave Yeager tells us he’s holding off on comment until he gets the church’s blessing.
Radnor Property Group would then hold a series of community town halls, presumably refine its proposal based on feedback, then move Waynewood from the drawing board to Radnor Township officials.
The township would be familiar territory for the developer. CEO Yeager not only lives in Wayne but he once served on Radnor’s planning commission.
Omicron fades & assorted COVID news (that we wish we didn’t have to write about)
What a difference a month makes.
- Mask mandates in Main Line schools might be lifted sooner rather than later. They’re already slated to disappear in Jersey and Delaware next month. And CHOP’s COVID-19 Policy Lab – whose pronouncements area schools and health departments follow closely – seems to be suggesting that districts can shift to mask-optional policies if local case counts are low enough. Meanwhile, the Main Line’s school district COVID “dashboards” are showing steep declines. In T/E, cases dropped from 223 Jan. 10-14 to 42 cases Jan. 31-Feb. 4.
[The latest from the Lab. “Mask use will have more benefit when case incidence is high and be less effective when case incidence — and by extension, exposure risk — is low. Therefore, communities experiencing a decline in case incidence may now have an opportunity to weigh the benefits of continuing with strict adherence to certain school mitigation requirements against the competing risk that these mitigation strategies may inhibit the normal operations of a school day.”]
- Chester County Health Department has eased up on educators, saying the county’s K – 12 schools are no longer required to do contract tracing and issue quarantine orders. CCHD decided both are a potential waste of time when so many have tested positive and so many have been exposed – not to mention all the asymptomatic spread out there.
- Some T/E School Board meetings have become so testy – often over masks but also over Critical Race Theory, that the district felt the need to add this warning to a recent meeting notice: “Please be aware that intentionally disrupting a lawful meeting or the administration of a government function is a criminal offense in PA.”
- It’s no secret school districts have been struggling – and not just with parents disputing mask mandates and objecting to race-related curricula. Labor shortages and supply chain woes have disrupted bus rides, lunchrooms, tech and teaching supplies, capital projects and extracurriculars. That’s why those American Rescue Plan dollars can’t be spent soon enough. A Dept. of Education web page currently shows Radnor getting $3.7 million, Lower Merion getting $2.2 million and Tredyffrin $1.5 million. Schools must spend all ARP funds by Sept. 2024.
- Remember the severe ER and hospital-bed crunch we told you about last time? Well, Main Line Health started offering $10K bonuses for RNs from Brandywine Hospital and Jennersville Hospital. Both Tower Health facilities closed in the last few months.
- Like the weather, local restaurants are slowly emerging from the inhospitable post-holiday deep freezeout/omicron surge/labor shortage. Places like Autana, Ardmore’s Venezuelan hotspot, didn’t even try. It closed completely and reopened Jan. 20. Narberth favorite Coco Thai offered takeout only until Feb. 1. Dining rooms also still closed at, among other places, Olive Tree in Paoli and Bua Loy in Devon, but takeout is still available.
- Restaurateurs up and down the Pike are bemoaning the catastrophically slow start to 2022. Lola’s Garden in Ardmore and Fern & Fable at People’s Light in Malvern started requiring vax proof – to protect precious servers and cooks but perhaps also to reassure diners and jumpstart business.
- Villanova men’s basketball team has had players sidelined by injuries, sure, but by COVID? Not so much. While other Big East teams have not fared as well, only Nova’s Caleb Daniels has missed time due to COVID protocols. A report in the Inquirer attributed the team’s relative health to smart safety measures enacted by team physician Michael Duncan.
- Fitness facilities continue to vary their rules re: masking, spacing and vaccines. Movement Rx, a somewhat cozy workout studio in Wynnewood, started requiring proof of booster shots for its onsite classes.
- Community Volunteers in Medicine, the Chesco nonprofit clinic for low-income, working people, has been desperately seeking donations for COVID testing supplies and rapid test kits to use with its new testing equipment.
The Main Line is becoming a celebrity chef hotspot. ’Bout time, right?
OK, so last year we told you about James Beard Award-winning chef Marc Vetri’s plans for Bryn Mawr.
Then we took you to “Top Chef” Nick Elmi’s snazzy new Lark and Landing Kitchen in Lower Merion.
Now, comes word that Iron Chef Jose Garces will headline a new joint in Radnor.
Dang, we could get used to this.
A first suburban outpost of Garces’ “Baja taqueria” concept, Buena Onda, will take the old Jimmy John’s space on Radnor-Chester Rd. It’s fast casual – so prices will be much easier to swallow than Vetri’s or Elmi’s ventures.
Buena Onda loosely translates to “good vibes.” Sounds about right for a super casual but stylish spot that slings guac, fresh fish tacos and its own line of canned margaritas and sangrias. With 50 seats inside and a handful outside, you’ll be able to sit down, just not at the bar. (There won’t be one.)
The skinny on Garces: He’s 40, his parents are from Ecuador, and he was named TV’s “Iron Chef” in 2010 when he was still in is 20s. His restaurant group declared bankruptcy four years ago and sold Amada, Village Whiskey, JG Domestic, Volver in Philly to IdEATion Hospitality, where he currently serves as CCO (Chief Culinary Officer).
IdEATion is reportedly scouting other Buena Onda spots in the western ‘burbs – including Malvern/Frazer – and plans to franchise the concept.
The Radnor location should open in late spring.
Tredyffrin’s Swedesford Road in transition
Well, that was quick. Just a few weeks after the monster trucks moved in, the old HH Gregg came a tumblin’ down.
Of course, its replacement – a still unnamed 250-unit luxury apartment complex – will take much longer for Bozzuto Development Co. to build. Bozzuto VP Pete Sikora tells us the company is “currently targeting” a spring/summer 2023 opening.
We asked Sikora for an update this week. He pointed out these benefits to potential renters and the neighborhood:
- Direct access to the Chester Valley Trail which runs behind the building. Bozzuto is throwing in parking for the general public at the trail connection.
- A new SEPTA bus shelter and pedestrian access to nearby shopping. (The new Will’s + Bill’s Brewery is a hop/skip away.)
- Au courante amenities that seem geared to singles, couples without kids (although with T/E schools, there will be some) and empty nesters. Things like “collaborative co-working spaces,” “private personal focus areas,” exhibition kitchen, bar, billiards room, resort-style pool, grills, fire pits, a “bike/sport lounge” with bike maintenance shop and equipment storage, a makerspace, an onsite dog park and pet spa.
Meanwhile, the nearby Wendy’s closed a few weeks ago and there’s no word yet on what’s happening there – a rebrand or gone for good. A sign directs customers to visit the Wendy’s in Paoli.
The old Mealey’s Furniture building remains empty but at least it’s been freshly painted – no more garish purple.
And then there’s that still-gaping hole next to the fancy new Golf Galaxy.
If something, anything, swoops in for those spots, this moribund stretch of the Main Line might just pull off a full Lazarus.
A vast Main Line estate on the chopping block … but the pieces would be sizable
Lower Merion has given its initial blessing to plans to carve up one of its last grand estates. Commissioners voted overwhelmingly to approve a tentative sketch plan that breaks up 68-acre Linden Hill in Gladwyne, home to Susan and Bob Burch and family since 1999, and before that, to John and Lynn Foster, and before that, to Campbell’s Soup heir, John Dorrance, Jr.
Before you start wincing – another Grande Dame bites the dust! – hear this: It could have been much more controversial. In fact, some conservation-minded folks are doing backflips at the township’s early green light. (A more detailed “Preliminary Plan” will get township scrutiny next.)
Advanced by Bob Burch himself, the approved sketch plan carves his beloved stomping grounds – and the site of many family parties and charity fundraisers – into five parcels while preserving huge swaths of meadows and woodlands.
“This is a such a huge win,” Lower Merion Building & Planning Director Chris Leswing tells SAVVY. “All of the buildings are preserved and all of the open space is preserved.”
Linden Hill is a Class 1 Historic Resource in an Open Space Preservation District in Lower Merion. See, Burch could have cut the 68 acres in 14 pieces (per code) but chose to develop only five. “Not many people would do that,” Leswing notes.
Not only that, but Burch agreed not to build within restricted land along Monk Road to protect the viewshed. (We had to look that one up. Viewsheds are indeed a thing.)
And in Burch’s vision, the new homes will be designed by an English architect to the Crown and will complement the existing French Normandy-style architecture. “Mr. Burch has been a great steward of a great property. Very old school Main Line,” says Leswing.
Burch has been trying to sell the place for more than six years. At first, he hoped for a single buyer – dropping the price from $24.5 million for 50 acres to $16.5 million, then taking it off the market in 2015, then adding the full acreage and re-listing it in 2020 for $24 million.
Along the way he’s floated plans for a Norman-style village of 31 cottages and a 170-bed retirement home. Weighed down by neighborhood opposition and zoning hurdles, both plans sunk.
This third time looks like the charm. The community appears to be on board, at least in the early going. “This is really going to be something,” enthuses Leswing.
A sucker-punch for many; A cautionary tale, perhaps, for all
Mark Niness, husband of one, father of three, coach and confidante to many, collapsed while shoveling snow in his driveway in the bitter cold on January 30. His wife, Julie, frantically attempted CPR until EMTs arrived but Mark was already gone.
He was 52.
“Mark did not have a heart condition that they knew of,” shares a distraught Meg Veno, the owner of Life’s Patina and a dear, longtime friend of the Niness family. An autopsy will reveal whether there was a genetic component that his kids should know about.
In her profound grief, Meg Veno calls Mark “a truly beautiful man.”
If you’ve been to Life’s Patina’s exquisite barn sales in Malvern, he was one of the friendly bros (and we mean that in a nice way, Chris and Christopher Veno) directing traffic. Mark also unloaded trailers of LP merchandise and muscled furniture into the barn. Not because he was getting paid – he wasn’t – although Julie has been Meg’s right-arm employee for the last three years.
No, he pitched in because, well, why the hell not? He could. It’s what friends do.
It’s also what truly good guys do.
And Mark Niness, by all accounts, was an exceptionally good guy.
Announcing Mark’s passing on Facebook, Maura Wheeler, Julie Niness’ sister-from-another-mother, wrote simply: “The world has lost one of its greats.”
Adds Meg Veno: “He would do anything for his friends and neighbors. He was the most loyal and giving of his time and fun was never far from him.”
Most are in college now but an army of Conestoga Generals, Paoli Wildcats, and Conestoga Youth Lacrosse players were lucky enough to call Mark “Coach.”
In these fraught times, Meg relays what may have been Mark’s greatest gift to his players and to all who knew him: “He had the ability to make everyone feel better about themselves.”
To honor Mark’s memory, please consider making a donation to his family to help defray funeral and household expenses and college costs. Organizer Maura Wheeler lists three ways to give: Venmo to @Julia-Niness (no fees), via credit card (2.9% fee deducted from your gift) or text LOVEMARK to 206-800-7879. Additional details here.
OUR SPONSOR’S STORY
Meet Beatty-Harris Sports Medicine: advanced, personalized care – and they fixed me! YAY!
With exercise, it’s damned if we don’t and sometimes, damned if we do.
Or in my case, overdo.
Sports and workouts keep us fit and youthful, but the more active we are, the more likely we’re going to screw up one day and pull, strain or tear something.
After years of somewhat aggressive workouts, my first real injury came on gradually last summer, not a month after I’d boasted foolishly to friends, “I’m in the best shape of my life. I feel 40!”
Mysterious and worsening rear upper-leg, hip and glute pain had turned my desk chair and driver’s seat into personal torture chambers. Sitting for longer than 5 minutes had become a literal pain in the You-Know-What. I would wince climbing stairs or the slightest of hills.
After months of PT, severely curtailed activity, and therapeutic massage, I finally got an MRI, which showed my hamstring tendon was torn and frayed where it joined part of my hipbone. Too much uphill cycling and hiking without enough stretching and virtually no rest days had done me in. Exercise had become my go-to social outlet during COVID but I’d completely overdone it.
“It’s a tough diagnosis,” warned the sports medicine physician I saw at Penn Medicine Valley Forge on my family’s doc’s recommendation after a negative spinal x-ray. Indeed, “Proximal Hamstring Tendinosis” is so nasty, there are support groups for it. Runners, dancers and cyclists can suffer with it for years.
Years? Not an option for borderline obsessive exercisers like me.
The doc told me my best hope to speed the healing was PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma). But “call right away,” he advised. “You won’t get an appointment [with our provider] for about four months.”
Wait, I’d be sidelined four more months?
Again, not an option.
Armed with a clearcut diagnosis, I started PT at a new place and was diligent with my home exercises, but the pain was as bad as ever. I was desperate for PRP.
Six weeks later, I finally got in to see a well-regarded physician in the Jefferson Health System who does PRP for musculoskeletal injuries. But he insisted on trying dry needling first.
It didn’t work.
That’s when I heard about a new practice in Newtown Square that specializes in PRP and other non-surgical interventions: Beatty Harris Sports Medicine (BHSM).
I was able to get a long and thorough consultation with Dr. Tricia Harris in two days (yes!) and she gave me a PRP injection the very next day.
Now that’s more like it.
I laid low for a few weeks – doctor’s orders – then started PT with BHSM’s in-house PT team. Therapist Desirae Urban and Dr. Beatty even took the time to review videos of my fave dance-exercise class, Mojo Fitness, showing me which kicks, lunges and squats I could do now and which had to wait. Desirae even designed a special pre-Mojo warmup for me. They also found specific ways to modify my twice-weekly functional strength training sessions while I rehabbed. In her Tory Burch wedges, Dr. Beatty evaluated the moves right in front of me.
I mean, what doctor does that?
Two months post-PRP, I am nearing zero pain and am poised to get fully back in action, which for me means hiking and biking in Valley Forge Park, full-throttle Mojo, full-bore strength, Pilates and barre classes (but with more stretching and days off). I’m over the moon.
And so when Dr. Beatty and I brainstormed ways SAVVY Main Line could help get the word out about her new practice, I insisted on writing a first-person testimonial. That’s how impressed I’ve been.
I discovered so many unique advantages to Beatty Harris Sports Medicine, there’s only space here to list the highlights:
- BHSM specializes in cutting-edge, nonsurgical interventions for chronic degenerative joint disease, sports injuries and chronic tendinopathies including PRP for buggers like tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis and osteoarthritis; Tenex/TenJet for chronic tendinopathy; and, unique to the area, Shock Wave Therapy, to break up scar tissue via sound waves. (Patients fly in from all over for it.) BHSM also offers non-steroidal Synvisc injections and cortisone shots when appropriate, among other solutions.
- BHSM works to prevent or forestall surgery. Their next-gen procedures speed healing and remove damaged tissue. Because orthopedic surgeons tend to offer surgical fixes, “it’s always a good idea to see a sports medicine physician before seeing an orthopedic surgeon to see what else is out there,” Dr. Beatty says. And if surgery is needed, BHSM can tell you which surgeon to see for your specific procedure. “That way you don’t end up seeing 10 surgeons and get super-frustrated. I’ve been doing this long enough, I can tell you who you need to see.” A former Naval flight surgeon and physician at Rothman Orthopaedics, Dr. Beatty has a wide network. She started her own practice after Rothman furloughed her at the start of the pandemic.
- Unlike some “regenerative medicine” practices, PRP at Beatty Harris is ultrasound guided. “If you’re doing PRP for a tendon tear, you need to see it to get it in the right spot,” says Dr. Allen Harris. “Our results with PRP are better because we’re not throwing it at everybody. We’re selective about the patients we do it on.” Once the province of elite athletes so they’d miss fewer games, PRP is now mainstream. “I trained in ultrasound-guided procedures 12 years ago, when it wasn’t commonplace in sports medicine fellowships,” says Dr. Beatty. “I have more experience than most.”
- BHSM prices are reasonable. Unfortunately, PRP is not covered by insurance – yet. But consultations are generally covered and BHSM’s price for my hamstring PRP was $800. A Main Line competitor who takes no insurance and doesn’t use ultrasound to guide his injections would have charged $1200. Some other procedures like Tenex are at least partially covered by most insurers.
- The Beatty Harris team is small and caring. They get it. They know how much you want to get back in the game and will find specific ways for you to do your thing safely while you heal. All were outstanding collegiate athletes and remain active. DPT Desirae Urban was captain of UPenn’s D-1 gymnastics team. The newest BHSM physician, Dr. Vincent Marchese, was a competitive baseball player. Says Dr. Beatty, also a former gymnast: “If you tell a gymnast not to do gymnastics, they ignore you and do what they want. You get better compliance if you talk to them specifically about what they’re doing that can be aggravating and figure out what they can do and not hurt themselves. Maybe the gymnast can do bars but can’t tumble. You have to take the time to go through that.” Also, each provider has a niche. “We complement each other in who we see,” Dr. Beatty explains. “For example, I see an older age group and people who prefer to be seen by a woman. Dr. Harris treats more student athletes.”
- BHSM has exceptional, on-site physical therapists. When your PT shares an office with your physician, they’re constantly communicating about your progress. Handpicked for their experience, smarts, personalities and passion for movement, BHSM’s two therapists have doctorates in physical therapy. “Patients find us because maybe they’ve been to PT three times and it’s failed,” say Dr. Beatty. “It should be very individualized, very hands on.” BHSM therapists never juggle three or four patients at a time. They take the time to teach you the exercises and correct you constantly. (Take it from me; they do.) “Even patients who are consummate exercisers need PT help,” says Beatty, who’s a long-distance runner and does HIIT workouts and yoga. “I would need someone to do hands-on PT with me. The body doesn’t want to turn on the targeted muscle because it’s weak.”
But don’t just take my word for it.
Irene Waitzman thought she’d have to sit out this golf season due to nasty case of tennis elbow that had dragged on for six months despite rest, ice, heat and an elbow brace. Dr. Harris found bone spurs as well as tendinitis. He treated her with Tenex and eight weeks later she was back swinging a golf club. “I appreciate how they took the time to explain what was going on for me and the options I had to cure it. 5 STARS!”
Another patient, Linda Schillat, has avoided knee replacement surgery for her bilateral knee arthritis with OrthoVisc and Zilretta Injections from Dr. Beatty. And a PRP injection by Dr. Harris healed the tibial tendon she’d torn for the third time in three years. “I was blown away by PRP and how quickly the tendon recovered when compared to traditional treatment. This time it actually healed!”
In short, Beatty Harris Sports Medicine offers innovative care with a personal touch. “So many people tell us no one took the time to explain their diagnosis to them. They thank us,” Dr. Beatty says.
Even during the most ouchy procedures and challenging PT sessions, it manages to be a pleasant place. The team’s secret? “We’re really happy here,” Dr. Beatty says. “We love what we do.”
Beatty Harris Sports Medicine, 3409 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, 610-601-9177.
Medical marijuana joints are growing like, well, weeds
If Harrisburg ever legalizes recreational pot – last week lawmakers actually started talking about it – the Main Line will have plenty of infrastructure already in place.
By our count, the area now has ten medical cannabis dispensaries. In the last two weeks alone, ribbons were cut on two new ones: Organic Remedies in Paoli and Curaleaf in Wayne.
The industry has come a long way in the four years since Radnor High School alum Mike Badey turned the old Devon Dairy Queen into the Main Line’s first dispensary.
Badey has since sold his three Keystone Shops to Trulieve, one of the nation’s largest pot players.
The state’s strict limits on licenses, stiff fees and complex financing rules have weeded out most of its mom-and-pop marijuana shops. Enter the big boys, like the new Curaleaf in Wayne (below) is one of 14 in PA and its 125th store nationwide.
And Trulieve is cultivating an army of “trulievers” in seven states, including 19 stores in PA.
Paoli’s new Organic Remedies (OR) is a 100-percent Keystone State operation – so far at least. The company grows, harvests and manufactures its own product in Carlisle, PA. Paoli is its fifth store overall and its first in eastern PA.
Organic Remedies seems especially clinical. Its news releases play up the brand’s on-site pharmacists, patient-focused care, clinical research and pharmaceutical-grade laboratory extracts.
“Our strong focus on the therapeutic value of medical marijuana differentiates us from our competitors,” reads a media statement. The company is collaborating with the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine on a clinical research study of quality of life improvements with medical marijuana treatment. A new study will focus on pain management.
“We are extremely excited to be working on far-reaching research that we believe will one day change the deeply ingrained stigma around medical marijuana, and provide evidence-based data to support medical marijuana therapies as an alternative medicine for patients suffering from serious diseases.”
Our roundup of area dispensaries:
- In Wayne, Curaleaf.
- In Paoli, Organic Remedies.
- In Ardmore, Beyond/Hello.
- In Bryn Mawr, Ayr Wellness.
- In Devon, Trulieve.
- In Malvern, Terra Vida Holistic Center.
- In King of Prussia, Curaleaf, Trulieve, Harvest House of Cannabis, and RISE Dispensaries.
Parents’ dream come true: CHOP-quality hospital care in the ’burbs
While other hospitals have felt the COVID pinch pretty much everywhere – in their ER waits, available beds, staffing and bottom lines, CHOP has weathered the pandemic rather well.
In fact, the nation’s first children’s hospital just made history again, opening a second inpatient hospital in King of Prussia two weeks ago.
The nearly $300 million facility was built with families in mind:
- 52 inpatient rooms: 36 medical/surgical beds and a 16-bed pediatric ICU. Rooms have comfy spaces for caregivers to stretch out and spend the night.
- A broad spectrum of specialties like orthopedics, plastic surgery and ear, nose and throat (ENT).
- Four operating rooms for elective surgeries that require overnight stays.
- The first dedicated 24/7 pediatric emergency department in the KOP area includes 20 beds equipped with advanced tech and diagnostic gizmos and access to child life and behavioral health providers.
- Cheerful playrooms and colorful public spaces, including a café and child-size armchairs in waiting rooms.
- Pandemic safety features like private rooms for all patients, nurses’ stations with windows into patient rooms and high-tech sanitizing lighting.
Comfortable, convenient and close to home, the new facility should help ease the crunch at CHOP’s 600-bed flagship in West Philly, which is often 90 percent full or more. Another plus: loads of free parking for your SUV/minivan near the main entrance.
The Middleman Pavilion at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (adjacent to CHOP’s existing Specialty and Urgent Care Centers), 550 S. Goddard Rd., King of Prussia, 1-800-879-2467.
Slam dunk for FLITE: Harlem Wizards return to Stoga
The high-flying Harlem Wizards will take flight for FLITE again next month.
In what’s become a must-do family outing, the zany ballers will take on the FLITE squad – T/E teachers and principals and Conestoga varsity players – on Friday, March 18.
It’s a win-win: kids marvel at the Wizards’ alley oops, sky-high slams and comic antics and FLITE gets a nice boost to its bottom line. A grassroots nonprofit, FLITE (Foundation for Learning in Tredyffrin/Easttown) went into high gear to help financially disadvantaged T/E families during the pandemic, paying for Internet hotspots and supervised learning centers so parents could continue working outside the home when school was virtual.
Harlem Wizards’ tickets sales and sponsorships fund life-changing academic help for T/E kids, everything from preschool tuition help to homework club to college prep. FLITE funds 11 support programs and helps about 500 students from preschool through college each year.
Said one parent whose family benefited from FLITE’s COVID programs: “We would like to use all the dictionary words for thank you: gratitude, helpful, welcoming, much-needed – for an exciting, playful, safe outlet.”
Harlem Wizards take on T/E, Friday, March 18 at 7 p.m. in the Conestoga High School gym. Doors open at 6. Tickets from cancelled 2020 game will be honored. Online tickets are $13 for students/seniors and $15 for everyone else. (Pricier at the door.) Masks required for ages 3 and up.
SAVVY’s February Picks*
Unique Valentine’s gift card alert: If winter has you longing for a warm getaway, the Infrared Sauna Cocoon POD might be just the ticket. This private, luxury infrared space capsule burns calories (500 in 30 minutes!), eases pain, tightens skin, boosts energy and immunity, improves sleep, detoxes and de-stresses. Exclusively at Cryo Sculpt Revive Wellness Oasis & Medical Spa in Paoli and Strafford Chiropractic & Healing Center in Wayne. Savvy men and women swear by it. $35/session for first-timers; intro 3-packs $89.
There are shakes and then there’s THRIVE, the most advanced meal-replacement shake on the market. It’s the #1 seller at Solutions 4 Health in Wayne and for good reason. With probiotic-growth elements and polyphenol extracts, these potent shakes fight inflammation, aid detox, boost immunity and improve gut, liver and cellular health. 18% off through March 31 with online discount code HEALTH18 or say SAVVY sent you at the Gateway store to claim your discount.
How sweet it is at Valley Forge Flowers. The Eagle Village emporium is offering three hands-on, decadent dessert-making classes with nationally known, former Williams Sonoma guru Michael Castillo: Chocolate Raspberry Torte on Sunday, Feb. 20, French Pear Tart March 13, and Lemon Meringue Pie March 10. $60/class includes all supplies. Yum.
Dying to try cryotherapy, compression therapy, PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) Therapy or an Infrared sauna? Or maybe you just want share these cool (and hot!) healing services with a pal/Valentine? Now’s the time. It’s Client Appreciation Week at Restore Health & Longevity Center in Wayne. Refer a friend – who’ll get two services for $25 – and score a free session for yourself.
*SAVVY Picks are shoutouts & promos on behalf of our sponsors. To learn more about becoming a SAVVY Pick, email [email protected].
This and That
Talk about snail mail. At least one Main Line neighborhood – in Wayne/Devon – is reporting that their mail is being delivered only every other day. One homeowner complained on Facebook about receiving no mail for five days straight. And that’s on top of all the MIA Christmas cards, holiday checks and envelopes that were pilfered from the blue mailboxes outside the Devon Post Office in December. A mail carrier told a Wayne resident that his manager told him to deliver every other day. Jeeze. Is this due to The Great Resignation or Omicron? We know scores of local postal employees were out with COVID around the holidays and in the first half of January, but this variant is fading, isn’t it?
We’re hearing raves about Osushi, the new sushi/Japanese spot that just opened on Greenfield Ave. Full SAVVY scoop in our next edition.
A spacious, new spot to get your sweat on. Bala Cynwyd’s AFC Fitness is taking over the old Philadelphia Sports Club in Radnor. After a $4 million overhaul, the 42,000 sq. ft. club will open in June, assuming supply chains hold up. Philadelphia Sports Club’s parent company filed for bankruptcy in 2020.
After our story in January about our beleaguered EMTs and ERs, we’re psyched to share this happy morsel: Chester County Hospital is getting $2.1 million from the federal American Rescue Plan to expand its emergency and inpatient facilities. The ER will get 25% more bays and a behavioral health treatment area. Twenty fully equipped and staffed inpatient beds will be restored. Chester County Hospital has buckled under the strain of the Omicron wave and the closure of Jennersville and Brandywine hospitals.
Climate Change Lower Merion is circulating a petition to halt what it’s calling the township’s unfolding “environmental tragedy”: the sacrifice of hundreds of heritage trees and indigenous animals to create turf playing fields for the new Black Rock Middle School in Villanova, slated to open in the fall. There’s also a Save Oakwell – Sister to Stoneleigh site on Facebook. Oakwell is the estate next to Stoneleigh Public Garden that Lower Merion School District bought to turn into sports fields, which reportedly are in short supply in the township.
Once again, little old Narberth comes up big in sustainability. This time, a refilling station not for petrol – but for household stuff like dish soap, shampoo and ketchup, thanks to green gals, Kimberley Bezak and Eleisha Eagle. SHIFT Sustainable Goods and Services Refillery, a bring-your-own-container pop-up, is open inside the American Family Market through February.
Those new luxury apartments just north of the Paoli train station have a new owner. Developer Linden Lane Capital Partners has sold The Airdrie at Paoli Station to Sentinel Real Estate for $71 million. Yowza. Airdrie was 95% occupied at the time of the sale.
The Wynnewood Giant supermarket is requesting zoning relief so it can install gas pumps at Wynnewood and Lancaster Aves.
How’s this for a Valentine’s Day heart-warmer? Gifting your honey with flowers from Kati Mac Floral Designs, a local, full-service florist that employs six people with intellectual disabilities and funnels all profits to help people with special needs. Owners are Colleen and Jason Brennan and Elaine Scott, who have long wanted to find meaningful work for their daughters with Down Syndrome. Elaine’s 25-year-old, Emily, is an employee.
More than 61,000 people have signed a petition demanding the resignation of Oxford Area School Board director Jennifer Kehs after she publicly blamed “illegal immigrants” for the district’s falling test scores.
In exchange for an exclusive interview, we promised not to name the developer who bought Willistown’s Rock Hill Farm in our story. Alas, the cat’s now fully out of the bag. Chester County property records, as reported by the Phila. Business Journal, show Villanova resident J. Brian O’Neill (aka Rockhill Farm Acquisitions) paid $25.48 million for the 246-acre estate and used the land to secure a $19.1 million mortgage. Former Rock Hill owner Ruth Colket listed the property with Compass for $38 million in 2020 after her husband died. Neighbors are battling O’Neill’s plans to put homes on portions of the estate.
After two years off, Wayne Music Festival returns June 11 but they’ll only get by with a little help from their friends. Organizers have launched a Gofundme to pay festival expenses. Anything left over will go to the Festival’s beneficiary, Music Is Love Foundation, which supports children’s medical causes. “If we don’t raise enough, we simply cannot hold the event!” reads organizer Ken Kearns’ bold-faced plea. Kearns is also seeking sponsors. No word yet on which acts but we’ve been assued they’re “incredible.” Music to our ears.
Jennifer Aniston has a Main Line connection! Not that you’ll be seeing her around town anytime soon. The star has been tapped by Idorsia, the Radnor pharmaceutical giant, to promote its groundbreaking insomnia cure, Quviviq. In Idorsia’s commercial, Aniston shares her own sleep struggles and how she’s prioritizing “sleep health.”
Speaking of stars, “Say Yes to the Dress” couture designer Matthew Christopher of the Vander Velde Model Collection will personally help brides Feb. 11 -13 at Van Cleve Bridal and Eveningwear in Paoli by appointment only. No word on whether the reality TV cameras will be rolling.
Malvern Prep has promoted one of its own. After a nationwide search and hundreds of applications, the school chose Assistant Head of School for Academics Patrick Sillup to fill Father Reilly’s shoes when he steps down in July.
Book Lovers’ Alert (Part 1): Former Main Line attorney and author Bonnie Kistler (House on Fire) will dish on her tasty new psychological thriller, The Cage, at Main Point Books in Wayne on Friday, Feb. 25 at 5:30. With polished writing and a propulsive plot, The Cage is one heck of a smart page turner. (We can’t put it down.)
Book Lovers’ Alert (Part Two): Two New York Times bestselling authors in one night to benefit the Chester County Library system: Erik Larson (Devil in the White City, In the Garden of Beasts and The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz) and Abbot Kahler aka Karen Abbott (Sin in the Second City, American Rose, The Ghosts of Eden Park). Tickets are on sale for this virtual NovelTea event set for March 9 at 7 p.m.
Red fire hats off to Paoli Fire Company, the first fire company in PA to receive the Certified Autism Center designation. Paoli’s firefighters and public-facing staff have received special, scenario-based training to de-escalate situations and better communicate with individuals with ASD who need help. Bravo.
Have a kid studying liberal arts at Penn State? Might want to send a thank-you note to Wynnewood’s Gene And Roz Chaiken. The couple has been named Penn State Philanthropists of the Year for 2021. Over the years, their gifts have helped establish PSU’s Jewish Studies program and Center for Student Success in the College of Liberal Arts and funded more than $6 million in scholarships.
Broadway’s Hamilton comes to West Chester U. next month in the person of Tony-nominated Christopher Jackson, aka George Washington. The actor will offer behind-the-curtains tidbits about the show, and his thoughts on inclusion (his son is on the autism spectrum), race, his friendship with Lin Manuel Miranda, and performing for the Obamas. Jackson’s March 19 appearance is part of WCU’s ticketed speaker series.
Kiefer Sutherland rocks Ardmore Music Hall March 12. A real Renaissance Guy, he’s been a cattle rancher, champion cowboy (cattle roper), record-label owner and musician. Oh yeah, he’s starred in a TV show or two. Among other tunes, Sutherland will perform songs from his new album that chronicles his life during the pandemic. Full COVID vax proof or negative COVID test within 24 hours required. Ten ticket maximum.
A Double Salchow (or was it a Double Axel) on ice skating rules for Fenimore Woods and The Willows. First you could, then you couldn’t, now you can again. After reports of skaters falling through the ice, Radnor Township closed its ponds to skaters last year. Folks complained last month, commissioners decided to allow skating “at your own risk” and will draft an ordinance to make it official.
The doctor is out. Montco Commissioners Chair and anesthesiologist Val Arkoosh has pulled her hat from the ring for U.S. Senate. “The stakes are too high to let anything stand in the way of a Democrat being elected to the U.S. Senate from PA,” she tweeted last week. Arkoosh has struggled with traction and fundraising in a Democratic field that includes centrist U.S. Rep. Connor Lamb and more left leaning Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and PA Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.
Main Line Today Restaurant Week runs Feb. 21 – March 6. Participating restaurants will offer special three-course prix fixe menus for lunch ($26.95, plus tax, beverage and gratuity) and dinner ($39.95, plus tax, beverage and gratuity). Restaurants are choosing what works best for them: lunch, dinner, or both — dine-in or takeout.
And finally, in our next life, we’re coming back as sports marketers just so we can work at the new Playfly Sports HQ near the Berwyn train station. The new digs (rendered below) sport a custom, one-on-one hoops court, a Jumbotron, a football-turfed second floor and a skybox-style mezzanine. “We wanted you to walk into our office and feel that energy, like you’re almost walking into a stadium,” Playfly Founder and CEO Michael Schreiber told the Philadelphia Business Journal. We can almost hear our new fight song: Fly, Playfly, Fly, on the road to …”
On the Mail. SAme in Paoli. Some days you get mail some days you don’t. (still waiting for mondays mail) Also does Sentinel Real Estate plan to do anything with Airdrie or just leave it be.
Caroline O'Halloran says
Thanks for letting us know about your mail issues. Frustrating! My guess is that Airdrie will remain as is. It’s not unusual for new properties like this to change hands shortly after they’re built.
Same problem with the mail here near Archbishop Carroll High School. We didn’t get mail for five days a few weeks ago, and now it’s very sporadic. Between that and empty shelves in supermarkets/drugstores, I never thought I would see the condition we are in. Oh, and where are the “supply chain issues” as far as Valentine’s Day candy and cards go? Seems to be no problem!
Caroline O'Halloran says
Thanks for you comment and I hear you. As a country, it seems we’ve all taken basic services for granted – daily mail delivery, whatever we need at the store, etc. You never really appreciate something until it’s taken away from you!
John Ricciutti says
Nice job. Glad to see the Sports Club is reopening in Radnor. I moved over to Anytime Fitness in Villanova. It’s 24X7.365. No vaxxmaxx requirements. You should do a story about MainLineTV.org and the quality awards winning documentaries we produce.
Wayne has one the nicest downtowns in all of the Philadelphia suburbs and that parking lot is huge relative to the rather small downtown. Outside the downtown core, Wayne is filled with bad planning, like who thought it was a good idea to build businesses up Lancaster Ave to Devon with perpendicular parking spots against the road? Backing out is no fun and the opportunity to extend Wayne with walkable shops has been lost. The developers full plan has not been released, but based on that sketch, it looks like just a typical modern luxury apartment building plopped downtown. I don’t think height is an issue, it just looks out of place. This project needs to have groind level retail at least along Station Rd, make it feel like an extension of downtown. Styling wise, it doesn’t have to match the late 19th /early 20th architecture of the rest of the town, but if it is going to be modern it should be a thoughtful design, not just some cookie cutter building like we have seen elsewhere.
Caroline O'Halloran says
You make some excellent points, Tyler! Thanks for sharing.
Also, I don’t think there is a parking shortage in Wayne, people just don’t want to walk to the lot on Bellevue which is often empty and has become unutilized space.
Caroline O'Halloran says
Chesterbrook is also experiencing delayed or no mail delivery too. Very frustrating!!!
Clare Mackie says
While the “number of parking spots will remain the same” if the proposed “Waynewood” were built, wouldn’t most of the existing parking spots be replaced by underground spots that are only for the residents of Waynewood? It would definitely create parking problems for customers of all the great businesses in Wayne.
Caroline O'Halloran says
Here are the figures in the initial proposal for Waynewood.
According to Larkin: 105 spaces for Waynewood residents and 69 spaces open to the public, which Larkin says is the same as what’s currently available in surface parking. The parking garage would be underground on three levels.
According to the letter Wayne Presbyterian sent to members: Waynewood would have 177 total underground parking spaces: 93 for apartment dwellers and 84 to replace current parking –which I believe includes a small lot that’s just for the church, plus the 69 spaces currently used by the public. Hope this helps clarify…
Transit friendly and dense housing is always talked about as a positive vs having more suburban sprawl and residents having to drive to shops , work, etc. That is until it’s proposed in your backyard vs someone else’s! I’m sure Waynewood will be modified in some fashion to get approval but it does seem consistent with other housing units that have been built or are under construction in the greater Wayne area and would be a another boost for Wayne’s local small businesses. Looks like a place I’d like to live in with is great walkability – i don’t think I’d need my car much at all.
Caroline O'Halloran says
Yes, there is definitely an appetite for low-maintenance, walk-to-almost-everything living and in already developed town centers, that often means new construction – a redevelopment project like Waynewood. If there wasn’t a demand for these units, developers wouldn’t be putting them up all over the place. Plus, they are generally good for the environment – both the literal environment (less fossil fuel burned for cars and heating/cooling smaller spaces) as well as economic environment. Our small-town merchants have been clobbered by Amazon and other e-tailers and before that by big malls like King of Prussia. But certainly aesthetics matter a ton, as do citizens’ concerns about stormwater, traffic, pedestrian safety, burdens on schools and first responders, etc. Much of this gets hashed out in the land development process (planning commissions and zoning boards). Over the years, I’ve seen a surprising amount of “negotiating” take place. Projects often end up very different from the ones initially proposed.
A. Dannon says
Thank you for all the investigative work here. Your news articles are so valuable and great to read.
Big concern here: There seems to be too much multi dwelling ‘brick and mortar’ development these days. We don’t seem to say this in our cities but in the burbs, heck yes. I see plans to keep adding way too many apartments.. what are the plans to set a limit? If our townships’ goals are to eventually create new cities, and remove why are all moved out to the burbs in the first place, then we all need to re-think this moving forward. Setting population density limits would help.
Caroline O'Halloran says
Well, it all comes down to the marketplace – supply and demand and whether there’s money to be made. Zoning is designed to control growth. But it’s also true that zoning boards often grant “variances and “special exceptions” for a whole host of reasons. Some municipalities do, in fact, set “density” limits for multi-family housing – that’s a VERY hot topic in Easttown, for example – but you’d have to go to China to experience the kind of “population density limits” you mentioned. Although China did just relax its rules and now allows three children per family…
lynn feinman ND says
Thinking of Julie Niness and her family. Life is short, people have been so volatile during COVID. We should all take everyday as a blessing and kindness will get us out of the sociological mess we are in.