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Terrain-DelVal proposal would revive Doylestown market

Urban Outfitters company wants to locate on university campus

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The Doylestown Township Board of Supervisors offered support for the partnership of Terrain and Delaware Valley University at its Sept. 21 meeting.
Terrain is a garden, home and outdoor lifestyle brand that is owned by Urban Outfitters. The company also specializes in small events, with seven locations spread throughout Pennsylvania, California, Maryland, and Connecticut. Terrain’s initial launch was in 2008, when the first location opened in Glen Mills.
Because of DelVal’s specialization in agriculture, Terrain saw a great fit for a partnership. The Terrain in Doylestown would be comprised of a garden center, a café with fresh produce and dairy (assisted by DelVal), and the event space. The proposed location is 2100 Lower State Road in Doylestown Township, where The Market at DelVal was previously located.
“This could be a sustaining spot that allows DVU to grow and do what they specialize in, while allowing us at Terrain to focus on what we specialize in – retail,” said Dave Ziel, chief development officer at Urban Outfitters.
Ziel said that Terrain faced difficulties finding a partner, but they knew “from the very first meeting” with DelVal that the two parties were “extremely compatible.”
DelVal is celebrating its 125-year anniversary this year. Randy Barfield, chief financial officer and vice president of finance and administration at DelVal, explained the three criteria that he hoped a partner would bring to the university:
- Desire for strong admissions to the university
- Focus and commitment to experiential learning, or learning by doing

-Strength of the partner – because it’s a small school, a strong partner who will help bring in more revenue will allow DelVal to offer more scholarships and programs
The third criterion is what really attracted them to Terrain, Barfield said. Urban Outfitters Inc. is comprised of Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People, FP Movement, Terrain, Urban Outfitters, Nuuly and Menus & Venues brands. Urban Outfitters’ net worth is currently over $3.2 billion, according to Forbes. For reference, DelVal’s endowment is $30.9 million, per Statistica.
Benjamin E. Rusiloski, interim president of DelVal, said “the collaboration will provide ample opportunities for the residents of Doylestown.”
A community member echoed this sentiment, coming up to the podium to share his thoughts with the board, saying that Terrain is “a great addition to the community that I fully support.”

Neighbors close to the proposed site will receive notice every time Terrain and DelVal are to present to the planning commission, in order to allow local residents to voice any concerns, questions, suggestions, or support.
Another community member in the audience was not as supportive, raising concerns about overflow parking in his neighborhood, the size of events, noise, water waste and flooding from events, and traffic and bike path concerns. A woman in the audience repeated these same concerns at the board from her chair, electing not to take the podium.
Doylestown Supervisor Dan Wood shared his concerns on how new buildings would affect the Doylestown bike trails, to which Ziel said: “I 100% support developing and upkeeping bike trails within the acreage of the agreement.”
As for the event size concern, the venue holds 150 people. There will be no bands performing, just a DJ playing music. Terrain can hold public or private events, although Ziel said that it has been doing “mainly weddings” and hosting events primarily on the weekends. While the other Terrains have liquor licenses, the proposed Doylestown location will be BYOB for the time being, said Ziel.
When asked why the event space is not larger, Ziel said that “plenty of people suggest that we grow, but we don’t want the space to be big, we want it to be special,” emphasizing the “intimate experience” that Terrain offers.
Supervisor Ryan Manion lives across the street from the proposed site location, but is not worried about overflow parking or noise.
“I’m very excited about this,” she said. “The partnership is a perfect display of what this township has to offer. It’s actually nice hearing music and people outside on the weekends.” She added that the board encourages Doylestown’s community members to take part in the planning of Terrain.
Ziel noted that Terrain is a brunch-oriented business and that holding events is a “crucial” part of the plan, in addition to the garden center and café.
Now that the partnership is backed by the board, the next step is for the two parties to present their proposal to the planning commission. After that, the plan will eventually return to the board of supervisors for approval, which “often happens more than once” in the approval process, said Supervisor Jen Herring.
Chairman Barbara Lyons concluded the meeting by establishing both the community’s and the board’s strong support for the plan.
“I mean this from the bottom of my heart, this will be special,” Ziel said.
For information on upcoming meetings, visit the board’s website at doylestownpa.org.


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