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SNEAK PREVIEW: Towpath Development in New Hope

The Canal Building of the Towpath Development consists of three town homes. Pictured as viewed from the Delaware Canal (top), and Ingham Creek (bottom).

Developer 18-20 W. Mechanic Street, LLC, is currently seeking approval of its proposed residential complex, also known as the “Towpath Development,” from New Hope’s Historic Architectural Review Board.

Proposed site plan.

The site includes one of the last large tracts of land in downtown New Hope, and was once home to the famed Towpath House Restaurant. It also currently encompasses three residential units and four business spaces, largely abandoned.

The Creek Building consists of two town homes.

The proposed development plan envisions five town homes, two condos, and two retail units, along with a first-floor restaurant in the historic 18-20 W. Mechanic St. building. The finished project would dramatically alter existing views from both the Delaware Canal and South Main Street.

Mechanic Street Building (front).

In its heyday, the Towpath House Restaurant drew large crowds for its fine food selection and theatrical staff, and sat across the canal from the renowned Canal House Restaurant owned by Johnny Francis.

Side view of Mechanic Street Building.

West Mechanic Street building today.

Proposed view from South Main Street near Bucks County Playhouse (top).

Current view from South Main Street.


About the author

Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein


  • DCNR has expressed interest in buying the property, refurbishing the historic building on Mechanic Street and turning the rest into a park. That would create a historic canal corridor from the relocated River House at the end of Main Street right up to the Aquetong Creek. The Towpath restaurant property would become a gem of a park in the heart of town, complementing the Playhouse and the River Promenade. If it becomes townhouses, the character of downtown will suffer permanent harm. Unfortunately, the owner, Paul Licitra, has so far refused to even listen to offers. Can’t someone persuade Paul, please.

  • The canal itself is and has been in an emergency state for quite a while. Fish are dying due to hi levels of a petroleum leak that is chronic and kills all the wildlife carpet up to 2 feet long are floating to the top and lying on the sides of the canal. What builder connect nor this environmental hazard and Bill along the most polluted water weigh in Bucks County without an interest to help fix it.

  • We should rename the town. Maybe New Condo or Townhouse City. That land by the creek should be made into a park. Pretty soon every available inch of open space will be made into connected dwellings for rich people. Not a fan.

  • Lived for six years in that one time apartment that was the Tow Path Restaurant and knew Autorono Galllery and other shops part of that compound. Thankful that after years of petitioning Paul was able to get the same approvals that allowed the many structures that once were the old Canal House and Hacienda to be built. Particularly thrilled architect is retaining so much of the historic character of the facade on Mechanic. It was a wonderful spot back in those days when barges still plied the canal. Plans look great!

  • Who’s behind Developer 18-20 W. Mechanic Street, LLC? It’s kind of interesting that the people who own Moo Hope Ice Cream wanted to refurbish the Gerenser building and they were turned down. I guess it all depends who you are…..

    • Felt terrible for the owners of Moo Hope. All the money they spent to try and refurbish what has become an eyesore on Main St. A reasonable compromise could have (should have) quickly been worked out. Clearly this town operates on the who you are/ who you know principals.
      Also Noticed that the developer and investors are behind an LLC. It will be interesting to find out who is funding this project. The initial plans look like a well thought out, so this isn’t their first rodeo.

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