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ARDMORE, PA-Lower Merion Township commissioners have selected Philadelphia-based EBL&S Development’s Ardmore Green mixed-use plan from among five competing redevelopment proposals to revitalize the area between the business district and Suburban Square. The plan, which has a projected cost of $300 million, would traverse the train station with a mix of retail, office, residential and hotel development.

“This is the first scene of the first act of a Shakespearean play,” Edward Lipkin, EBL&S CEO, tells GlobeSt.com. “Nothing is iron clad. We’re in the process of continuing conversations with the township about the size and scale.” Working under a memorandum of understanding, Lipkin says his company will submit more detailed plans by March 19.

Four other area developers vied for the redevelopment site. They are King of Prussia-based BET Investments, Philadelphia’s Dranoff Properties, locally based Mariner Commercial Properties, and Strategic Realty Investments, which is headquartered in Wayne.

“The RFP asked for a vision, and that’s what we submitted,” Lipkin says. Much of it is based on the US Green Building Council’s newly created Neighborhood Development standards, which go beyond green building standards to also address social impact, financial impact and ways to encourage the use of mass transit and car pooling. An EBL&S project in San Mateo, CA is the first US development selected for LEED ND-program certification.

The initial Ardmore Green proposal calls for 50,000 sf of office space, a boutique hotel of between about 80 and 100 rooms, and a mix of residential and retail space, which is yet to be determined. “We’re readdressing the mix, because there’s some concern over too much residential,” Lipkin says. “We’re amenable to rescaling.” The residential component, he says, will include 10% below-market-rate units to provide housing for local emergency work staff, such as fire, police and healthcare workers.

The complex straddles the railroad tracks. “In cooperation with Septa and Amtrak, we’ll use a right of way above the tracks to not only obtain the amount of space we need in a compressed area, but also integrate both sides of the tracks, which is an objective of the vision,” Lipkin explains.

At about the time the township called for the RFP, Kimco Realty acquired Suburban Square, a shopping center adjacent to the proposed Ardmore Green. Lipkin says the Kimco acquisition is unrelated to his company’s Ardmore Green proposal. A Main Line resident, Lipkin also says he plans to relocate EBL&S headquarters to Ardmore Green.

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