Despite bureaucratic hurdles and at least one intransigent lease-holder at the Four Seasons Mall in New Hope, Playhouse Inn Properties is continuing to move forward with its plans to convert the dismal retail space at 32 S. Main St. into an upscale indoor farmers market.
Dubbed “Ferry Market” in a rendering shown publicly this week, the Playhouse folks were kind enough to provide the Free Press with a high-quality photo on short notice. Future historic and zoning reviews notwithstanding, the sketch is beautifully executed and eye-catching.
Playhouse Inn Properties, Bucks County Playhouse and Four Seasons Mall Principal Kevin Daugherty said in a Free Press exclusive on Jan. 6 that “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.
“We envision a more open space inside,” continued Daugherty. “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.”
The building was bought through BHHS Fox & Roach for $2 million from Four Seasons Mall Fee LP on Dec. 31, 2014, 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 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.
Never, in all my years walking past that mall, did I ever want to enter.