“This is huge!” writes Julie Davis over at Racked Philly, and boy, she ain’t kidding. Urban Outfitters’ parent company, spelled URBN (because when you remove most vowels and put it in all caps a word grows up), has plans for a large development in Devon called Devon Yard. And get this: It’s not going to be some downscale strip-mall crap hole. Well, that’s what URBN says, in so many words.
At an Easttown Township meeting this week, an URBN rep explained to residents why this development is different — which, of course, it already is, given that it’ll be in Devon. He said, ”When you see a lifestyle center you often see a Chico’s, a J. Crew, a Cheesecake Factory. That’s not what we’re about.”
So what are they about?
The plan, which is admittedly in its early stages, is for the 6.5 acres that were previously occupied by Waterloo Gardens. It includes, according to Main Line Media:
- Terrain garden center
- Fine dining restaurant
- Mid-level restaurant
- Specialty foods market
- Spa/wellness facility and/or a boutique exercise studio
Perhaps the biggest issue for residents will be the five-story anchor property, which URBN is calling the Devon Inn — “a handcrafted, authentic and unique boutique hotel… that will be done in a superior way to anything in the area” — and its multilevel parking garage. (People always get agita about parking garages.) Amish stonemasons will work on the project, and this is notable for some reason. Also: “Our attention to detail and authenticity is bar none. Everything will look like it’s been there a long time,” the rep promised.
The sketch plan calls for the hotel’s main wing to be five stories, the tallest building on the property. Adjoining wings of the hotel will be three-stories high. The Inn will take up about half of the Devon Yard complex and will mimic the historic Devon Inn of the 1920s, Ziel said. It will have 93 guest rooms, a restaurant, an event space and possibly a wine boutique and a spa.
There’s more, of course, including URBN’s commitment to the august Devon Horse Show parking lot, the plan for recycled building materials along the lines of URBN’s adaptive reuse at the Navy Yard.
MLM doesn’t mince words about what this will mean for Devon, which is best known now for the horse show: “And in one fell swoop, the Main Line zip code that never had a town center near its train station will get a downtown to call its own.”