MARSHALLS CREEK — Housing for people 55 and older will be included in the Smithfield Gateway project, if Smithfield Township updates its zoning ordinances to match the new vision for the retail/residential complex coming to the intersection of U.S. Route 209 and Pennsylvania Route 447.
Developer Jim DePetris, CEO of Legend Properties Inc., and his team presented the updated plan to the Smithfield Township supervisors on Tuesday evening.
The age-restricted units would allow for more residents, while keeping the likelihood of additional children low, an arrangement intended to ease East Stroudsburg Area School District’s concern about a large influx of students.
The development team is asking Smithfield Township to allow 500 total units, an increase from the current cap of 236. About half of them would be for older residents.
The plan would also require changes to ordinances about stories/height, unit size and parking requirements, among other updates, according to Charlie Schmehl with Urban Research and Development Corporation.
The 55+ housing would be north of the mixed-use area that will likely attract younger renters.
DePetris described his vision for that portion of the development: "The new Smithfield Gateway will be a mixed-use project that will become the gathering place for residents and travelers to shop, eat and enjoy seasonal events, music and a wonderful atmosphere. And also, where people can live in beautiful apartments that overlook the views of the Delaware Water Gap and walk from their apartment to their favorite restaurants and cafes."
The retail plan includes "an anchor with small shops and restaurants," said Chris Bauer, a partner at CI Design.
A higher outdoor level features a pool overlooking a plaza/green space where concerts and other outdoor events can be held.
"It was really about creating that public realm, with public gathering spaces and that connectivity and walkable, shoppable community," Bauer said.
DePetris anticipates small retail and service shops. "This will not be big box. You won’t find a Ross or a TJ Maxx or anything like that."
There’s a winery that’s "very interested," he said, and "some very upscale restaurants."
There won’t be a big grocery store like a Giant or a ShopRite. It’ll be "more of a boutique market" at 20,000 to 30,000 square feet, DePetris said.
"We’re talking to — it’s not Trader Joe’s, but ’Trader Joe’s-type’ food markets," DePetris said.
Parking for residents will be completely separate from parking for visitors to the shops and restaurants — an important feature, DePetris said, so that retailers don’t suffer from residents taking up their parking spots.
DePetris knows that after years of discussion about potential projects on this site, people will have to see it to believe it.
"When people start seeing the roads improve, they’ll start believing that Smithfield Gateway will be a reality," he said.
According to Doug Olmstead, development manager for DEPG/Legends Management Services, the goal is to start burying a 72-inch storm pipe under Route 209 in 60 to 90 days.
Following that, improvements will be made along 209 in an effort to ensure access to businesses remains while the road is widened to five lanes. If all goes to plan, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will start widening the road in the spring of 2021.
Demolition of structures on the former Mosier Farm property began in September 2019.