Although Quakertown officials are prepared to move ahead with a land deal involving the Triangle Park lot downtown, they are not willing to hand over complete control to the potential buyer.
On Monday night, officials spoke at length regarding the property – located in the center of downtown on W. Broad Street between N. Fourth and N. Third streets – and the desire to transfer ownership of the lot to the Quakertown General Authority. The authority is a separate entity of the borough that would oversee the real estate transaction and ultimately follow proper legal channels, while keeping in mind the best overall use for the property.
An appraisal for the property came in at $250,000, officials said, with a notable interest from Dave Halliday of Village Centre Properties. Halliday has discussed his vision for the lot as being a three-story, 30,000 sq. ft. building suitable for retail businesses, a restaurant and office space. Halliday's conceptual design is in motion with a reported construction cost of $6 million.
Although officials believe Halliday at his word, provisions will be added to the transfer document with stipulations on facade materials, minimum and maximum number of floors, parking and trash collection areas.
"This building will note and mark what downtown Quakertown is all about when driving into the borough," Council President Jim Roberts remarked.
Council members were in agreement on listing criteria to be included in the sale agreement as the facade material being limited to brick or stone, a minimum of two stories and maximum of three, as well as an enclosed trash collection area not visible from the street.
One borough business owner, Doug Mohr of Lion Around Books, spoke regarding the "lack of communication" to business owners of the downtown. Mohr has begun a petition in reference to the failure of communication and plans to present it to council when more people have signed.
Borough officials countered, stating several downtown business owners have been approached regarding not only the Triangle Park lot project, but also the potential for traffic pattern changes on Broad and Branch streets with no notable opposition.
Mohr said, "They have legitimate concerns about how these changes will affect their businesses and how to plan for it."
In an effort to cut down rumors and have an open conversation, Roberts announced that "a meeting will be held here (borough hall) either day or evening for stakeholders."
Discussion on the Triangle lot project will continue at the next scheduled borough meeting on April 2.