Former Berks shopping center is reduced to rubble | Local-news

Demolition of the former Promenade shopping center in Exeter Township is underway, and the complex

Demolition of the former Promenade shopping center in Exeter Township is underway, and the complex has been largely reduced to rubble.

The township bought the partially vacant shopping plaza in 2019 for $2.5 million. The intent is to relocate the township offices, including fire and ambulance services, and police and highway departments to a new structure on the site.

“The demolition contract runs through June, but I don’t expect it to take that long,” Laurie Getz, assistant township manager and director of communications and community engagement, said, noting the contract was awarded to Wargo Enterprises of Akron, N.Y.

The company began demolishing the eastern end of the structure at 3925 Perkiomen Ave. several weeks ago while utility crews worked on relocating a transformer behind the former Giant grocery store at the western end, Getz said.

Getz said the township supervisors authorized a feasibility study for the site about two months ago. Conducted by KCBA Architects, the study also included a full comprehensive overview of existing township-owned structures.

The firm has offices in Lehigh and Montgomery counties and specializes in municipal projects.

“The study concluded the existing township facilities on DeMoss Road are not large enough,” Getz said.

Building new township facilities on the 18-acre Promenade site in the Reiffton section of the township would allow Exeter to consolidate its services and administrative offices.

Right now, Getz said, services are scattered.

“The highway department especially is spread out all over the place,” she said.

In addition to consolidating township services, plans for the Promenade site could include a community center. Possible uses for such a center include youth sports and social activities, after-school recreation programs, adult and senior health and fitness programs, and community meetings and seminars.

The concept drew mixed responses from township residents during a virtual brainstorming session last month.

As part of the Promenade purchase in September 2019, Exeter assumed the preexisting month-to-month lease agreements for six businesses: MotoPhoto, Riviera Pizza, Best China Chef, Holiday Hair and the Stop Wash and Go car wash, Getz wrote.

The last remaining tenants were evicted in July 2020, due to insurance concerns.

Monroe Muffler and Hollywood Cleaners, which operate from a separate building on the property, hold lease agreements that will expire later this year.

Demolition of the former Radio Shack building at 3923 Perkiomen Ave. by contractor MEI Demolition and Excavation Inc., Monkton, Md., also is nearing completion.

Although both demolitions are township projects, the two are unrelated, Getz said, noting the latter is part of the multiphase Perkiomen Avenue streetscape project for which the township received a grant of $4 million in state and federal funding.

(This story was updated April 8, 2021, to include Hollywood Cleaners as a current lease holder.)