» Progress report: The lengthy, often contentious battle between BPG Development Company and concerned Newtown Square residents wound down in mid-October, when the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors approved the developer’s plans for Ellis Preserve Town Center. The vote followed a lawsuit filed by BPG alleging that township officials had denied the company’s right to follow alternate development plans for the site. BPG can now move forward with the 210-acre office, hotel, retail and residential megaplex. The $500 million project boasts as many as 410 housing units, up to 450,000 square feet of retail space, 850,000 square feet of existing office space (with an additional 600,000 square feet proposed), two luxury boutique hotels, and 75 acres of open space. Traffic, tax increases and environmental concerns have divided the township, and condemnation has come from board members George Wood and Linda Houldin, who both lobbied for a “no” vote. Locals are concerned that BPG might flip the property, paving the way for a less aesthetic project than the one proposed. Meanwhile, BPG promises “environmentally favorable” buildings, no big-box development, improvements to routes 3 and 252, and the preservation of historic buildings, open space and trees. We won’t see any of this until at least 2010, but the question remains: If they build it, will they come?
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