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September 1, 2014, 7:40 am

Maplewood Mall renovations progressing

The city said it will begin interviewing contractors Feb. 17, in the first phase of $2.2 million in renovations for Germantown’s Maplewood Mall.

Community Planner for Northwest Philadelphia Matt Wysong said nine proposals were submitted from contractors in the tri-state area in response to the solicitation for “architectural design, engineering and construction management services.” After review of the proposals, he said, a select group will be chosen to interview.

“We will have a shortlist — we review the Request for Proposals (RFPs) we received,” Wysong said. “And we chop the list in half. We take that shortlist and bring the contractors in to talk with us one-on-one to get an idea of what they have to offer and if they are the right fit for the project.”

Wysong said they are looking for construction teams with “good civil engineers and design firms that know how successful urban spaces work.” He said a selection will be made by the end of the month and plans to “have the contract executed by May.”

Maplewood Mall business owner Linda Samuel, said she was glad to see the redevelopment progressing. She has owned the Flower Café for 17 years and said business has been “dwindling.” She expects the renovations to boost foot traffic.

“I think it’s fabulous,” she said. “I don’t know how much it will be for $2.2 million, but the fact they are cleaning up is fine to me.” Samuel said the pavement, the street, the lighting and the signage were all in need of repair.

“Right now it looks desolate, so I think it will improve perception [and] I think it will bring more people here,” Samuel said. “It really is a lovely mall. We [just] need some sort of burst.”

Andy Trackman, President of the Germantown United Community Development Corporation (GUCDC), said the mall’s facelift could also result in a more unified Germantown.

“I think if the project is handled well, in terms of the reconstruction schedule and if the input from the community and the immediate property owners on the Mall are seriously taken into account with the final design, then I think the Mall has the potential to be a unique gathering place in Germantown, as well as the whole of Northwest Philadelphia,” he said.

According to Wysong, feedback from the community and various “stakeholders” were posted online for the contractor’s review, so they have an idea of what the community requested. He said the new Maplewood Mall is planned to address these needs.

“We are hoping this will create a more inviting environment for customers to come out and solicit these businesses and we hope it’s going to bring additional business as well – to create more of a conglomeration,” Wysong said. “We are also looking [to] design a space that’s conducive to events, creating a welcome public space and creating a unique environment within the city.”