It has been several years since The Intelligencer newspaper building was razed, leaving mountains of rubble stacked amid dead and dying trees to mark its footprint along North Broad Street in Doylestown Borough.
While plans to build an apartment and retail complex on the 7½-acre property were approved about two years ago, there were no signs of the development until recently.
Over the past two weeks, an army of heavy equipment has descended on the site, clearing trees and removing the tons of debris left behind from the 2019 demolition.
Now in full swing, the project is expected to take about 18 months, said Phil Ehlinger, the borough’s deputy manager.
While 95 trees were taken down, Ehlinger said more than 100 new trees are “proposed” along with 750 shrubs and other plantings. Additionally, the deputy manager said, Cornerstone Tracy LLC, a Villanova-based real estate developer, was required to contribute $252,600 to the borough’s park and tree fund. That money, Ehlinger said, was used to support the community’s new Broad Commons Park across from the apartment complex, along Atkinson Drive.
One acre of woods that borders the U.S. Post Office property is being preserved for use as a public park, according to Ehlinger.
Plans call for 233 apartments in three buildings. Two of the buildings will be four stories, while the third will be seven stories. The taller structure is going up in the far corner of the site, near Center Square Towers, a neighboring apartment complex.
Besides the apartments, approximately 10,000-square-feet of retail and/or office space is included on the lower level of the project, as is a parking garage.
In earlier comments, Ehlinger said, “This is one of the biggest developments we’ve seen or will see in the borough.”
When the borough’s planning commission approved the plan in April 2021, the only dissenting vote came from Heather Mahaley, who expressed concern about the housing’s affordability and traffic. At the time, the developer said the units would be rented at “market rate.”
Plans also include traffic improvements for the intersection of North Broad Street and Atkinson Drive.
A little farther north, at 400 N. Broad St., the state’s Department of Environmental Protection built a water treatment plant to treat the contained contaminated groundwater from the Chem-Fab Superfund site located there.