A new residential complex could begin to take shape across from the Cooper River in Cherry Hill.
At last Monday’s meeting, council approved on first reading a proposed redevelopment plan for the Park Boulevard gateway redevelopment area. The planning board approved the redevelopment plan at its meeting on Feb. 1.
Mayor Chuck Cahn talked excitedly about the plan prior to council’s vote, saying the proposed development will completely transform the property. The 7.3-acre area is currently home to America’s Best Value Inn, Palace of Asia restaurant and a vacant building formerly known as Faith Life Christian Center. The property is sandwiched between Route 70 and Park Boulevard near Cherry Hill’s border with Pennsauken and Haddon Township. It overlooks Cooper River Park from the rear.
“(The plan) is a tremendous improvement of what is currently existing on that property,” Cahn said.
The redevelopment plan details a 192-unit residential development, most of which consists of a 176-unit apartment building. The building will reach three-to-four stories high and will be constructed along the Park Boulevard side of the property, with many of the units overlooking Cooper River Park.
Next to the large building, across Donahue Avenue, will be 16 townhouse units separated into two buildings. Like the 176-unit building, the townhouses will also be built along Park Boulevard facing Cooper River Park.
The redevelopment plan also includes a number of site amenities, including multiple outdoor courtyards that will include seating with tables, outdoor lighting, fire pits or fireplaces and one pool. A roof deck for the 176-unit building is also included in the plan.
“We think it’s award-winning and cutting edge for this entire area,” Cahn said. “It’s something the region of Philadelphia and South Jersey has not seen before.”
During the caucus portion of the meeting, community development director Paul Stridick described the plan and talked about how it outlines what the property will look like once developed.
“Most of the plan is also the design standards for the buildings themselves and the site,” Stridick said.
Council passed a separate resolution naming Cherry Hill Land Associates, a subsidiary of First Montgomery Group, as redeveloper of the area. The Park Boulevard area was one of the redevelopment zones named in the township’s agreement with CHLA last summer. The agreement allowed CHLA to build residential developments on three sites in Cherry Hill in exchange for preserving Woodcrest Country Club. In addition to Park Boulevard, the agreement also calls for residential developments at the Hampton Road and Victory redevelopment areas.
Township director of communications Bridget Palmer said CHLA is responsible for acquiring the properties for the Park Boulevard redevelopment area, and the township did not have a timeline for the project.
CHLA representatives could not be reached for comment.
The Park Boulevard redevelopment area was on the township’s radar for the past couple years. In 2014, council asked the planning board to review if the area could be designated as an area of redevelopment. In April 2015, the planning board unanimously voted to recommend to council designating the property as a “condemnation redevelopment area.” After council officially approved the designation, work on the redevelopment plan began.
Council will hold a second reading and public hearing on the redevelopment plan during its next meeting on Feb. 22. If council passes the ordinance on second reading, the plan will return to the planning board for a full site plan review.
The full draft plan can be viewed at www.cherryhill-nj.com.