Retail outlets inquire about old TS&T site

CHESTER – Two retail outlets are looking at the old Taylor, Smith & Taylor plant site, the executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle said Wednesday.

Pat Ford said they’d forwarded the TS&T master site plan in response to their inquiries “to see what parts they might be interested in.” He said both companies “want to be part of a multi-tenant development.”

“I wasn’t expecting retail to jump on it,” he said. “But (look at) how healthy downtown Chester is, it’s at the nexus of U.S. Route 30 and state Route 2, it’s probably the single largest contiguous piece of developable real estate” in the area.

“It sat in disrepair and was unkempt for decades,” he added. “It’s just taken a while for people to realize the property is on the market and available for development.”

The BDC had purchased the near 10-acre riverfront property in July 2011 for $125,000 and then tapped into more than $1 million in funding from federal, state, and county government as well as foundations to demolish the dilapidated structure and remediate the site.

They’re currently marketing the property for sale or lease. Ford said he’s hoping to hear something in the next 90 to 120 days.

“This property was off the market for decades – people might have wondered if it’s (available) and if it’s developable, because of what was here before. We want to get the word out that it is clear, it is developable, it is clean. We spent almost $1 million to remediate the site and make it one of the premier sites in (the region). It’s proximite to one of the most vibrant central business districts in the region.”

He said Chester is enjoying a low vacancy rate in commercial properties, an indication that the economy is on the way up. “There’s second-story residential development occurring on upper floors of key properties, there’s downtown housing construction going on in the area. All the indicators are pointing to (a growth economy). I think it’s just a matter of time, a short period of time, before this particular piece of property gets on the regional radar of developers and real estate brokers.”

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