Published On: Tue, Jan 6th, 2015

Updated: Bucks County Playhouse owners purchase Four Seasons Mall in New Hope; consider conversion to farmers market

new hope free press 4 seasons frontUpdate: 1:30 p.m., Jan 7: Bucks County Playhouse owner and new Four Seasons Mall owner Kevin Daugherty confirmed yesterday’s exclusive article in the Free Press, and explained that his new holding falls under the Playhouse Inn Properties umbrella.

Said Daugherty, “Farmers markets come in all varieties, and we’re working on what’s best for the people who visit New Hope, as well as those who live here. We’re looking at offering takeaway food that is fresh and prepared, and that’s what makes sense after hearing what people would like to see.

“Planning has already started, and we anticipate construction starting soon,” added Daugherty. “Tenants have been notified, and they have the right to exit their lease early to avoid construction.

“We’re aware that it’s not a historically significant building, so that will help with our goals,” Daugherty continued. “We envision a more open space inside. We definitely want to make available the property’s attractive waterfront views, but we haven’t determined yet whether the current restaurant space to the rear of the structure will be a separate store or an extension of farmers market experience — a cafe overlooking the river, for example.”

Update: 1 p.m., Jan. 7: Story confirmed in a statement from Bucks County Playhouse owner Kevin Daugherty. Update to follow.

Bucks County Playhouse owners Kevin and Sherri Daugherty have purchased the Four Seasons Mall and are evaluating plans to convert it into an upscale farmers market similar to Stockton Farmers Market in New Jersey, according to multiple sources close to the situation who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The building was bought through BHHS Fox & Roach for $2 million from Four Seasons Mall Fee LP on Dec. 31, public records indicate, and the property had been listed as a “short sale subject to bank approval.” That may be an outgrowth of Chapter 11 protection sought by Four Seasons Mall Fee LP on Feb. 7, 2014 in the Pennsylvania Eastern Bankruptcy Court.

Re-built in 1994 after a fire, the Four Seasons Mall at 52 S. Main St. initially gained popularity through notable retailers like Toys for Men, but had fallen into harder times in recent years. The building is graced with river frontage and attractive water views, but the lower level has flooded in the past. The lot measures 100′ x 276′, and the building encompasses 12,000 square feet, according to an online real estate listing.

One major plus not to be underestimated is some 25 parking spaces to the rear of the structure, a valuable commodity for shoppers, tourists, theatergoers, and others enjoying a stay at the nearby Logan and Playhouse inns.

Parking to the rear of Four Seasons Mall

Parking to the rear of Four Seasons Mall

Current Four Seasons Mall occupants include Guy Stuff, Affordable Art, India Fashions, Fashion of Lawrance KK,  Memo Wear, Marhaba Hookah Lounge and Sugar Daddy’s, a popular candy and ice cream store.

While already subdivided into retail spaces with a central walkway, a source close to the situation said they believed the building will be demolished and rebuilt in a more suitable configuration. But a spokesperson for the new owners said Wednesday that the old structure will not be razed, but significantly overhauled and “opened up.”

One individual close to the situation said some store owners and employees are worried about the immediate future, as most are on a month-to-month lease basis. If true, that would also mean renovation could begin sooner than later. Zoned for the Central Commercial District, and gifted with decent parking and at least two food service permits, it’s hard to envision stiff municipal resistance to the farmers market concept, should that plan pan out.

Interior of Four Seasons Mall

Interior of Four Seasons Mall

Said one long-time New Hope business owner “It’s a great idea. I see no problem with it.”

Another merchant remarked, “Stockton market has bad parking and is too pricey.”

It’s easy to see why the Daughertys aren’t alone in appreciating the potential of the Stockton Farmers Market model. Located in Stockton, New Jersey, the indoor market is a trendy space with more than two dozen independent vendors, most selling locally-produced artisanal food products. The emphasis is on family-owned businesses using organic farming methods, and it’s not unusual to find oneself shopping to the sound of live acoustic music.

The market is open from Friday to Sunday each week, and current sellers include Blue Moon Acres (salad greens and produce), Button’s Creperie, Camellia & Coffea (coffee and tea bar), Carousel Farm Lavender, Casa di Trevi (pasta and sauces), Crossroads Bake Shop, Cottage Spice Company, Eat This (marmalades and desserts), El Mariachi (Mexican food), Gravity Hill Farm (local organic produce), Half Pint Kitchen (ice creams and sorbets), Highland Gourmet (beef and cheese), Juice Matters, Land of Lee (lifestyle), Mallery’s Grazin Meats, Market Pizza, Mediterranean Delicacies (olive oil), Metropolitan Seafood, Milk House Farm Market (produce, dairy, honey, etc.), {more than} >Q (Texas barbecue), Mushrooms Etc., Sciascia Confections (chocolate), Sweet Melissa Patisserie, and Suzy Ventura Atelier (urns and statuary).

Neither the Daughertys nor the Four Seasons Mall ownership were immediately available for comment.

 

 

 

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Displaying 7 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. origin11@comcast.net' JaneAdele says:

    GOOD IDEA! Hope it will bring all ages in. Maybe sell some crafts as well? It would be real local color

  2. tomwise@ymail.com' Tom W says:

    So great that so many new ideas are being developed in beautiful New Hope! Creative thinking is what “New Hope” has always attracted.

  3. elicash9876@gmail.com' William G says:

    Great news; a farmer’s market would be a huge improvement over what’s there now. Good luck to the new owner’s; they’ve done a great job with the playhouse over the years and there’s no reason to believe this will be anything less than a huge success for the town as well.

  4. It will never hurt Stockton market,which is overpriced and there are plenty of merchants to go around. Think Reading terminal market. Anything to get rid of that plastic realistic gun abomination to our nation store. Make it people,artist and merchant friendly like the Stockton market used to be in the beginning.

  5. magsjag1955@yahoo.com' Maggie says:

    Sounds like a great idea. New Hope is a beautiful little town but needs better retail I believe..With that being said I believe it would hurt Stockton’s farmer market. Its such a unique place I would hate to see that happen…

  6. nsjersey@yahoo.com' Steve says:

    I hope they build it something that all of the community will use, especially the under 21 crowd. Farmers’ Markets are nice, but pricey and not regular business hours.

  7. tmeehan45@mac.com' Terry says:

    YAY sounds fabulous!!

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