Southwinds Development recently presented to Gloucester Township officials an early stage proposal to redevelop a portion of the old Downtown Blackwood along the Black Horse Pike.
The mixed use project would be developed around (and behind) the existing Maxi Shine carwash, and the early site plan shows a mixture of walkable main street style shops, restaurants, a farmers market and more as well as housing (townhomes and apartments).
An address to use with Google Maps is 301 N Black Horse Pike.
While the site plan they reviewed does indicate business types for the commercial aspects, I have to believe they are listed only for “visionary” purposes ahead of a full planning presentation.
The architectural renderings for the commercial aspects have an early 1900s style to them, harking back to a simpler time of small town America.
A series of “Inspiration” photos also present a proposed development full of character and uniqueness.
This meeting took place on September 12th 2022 as an unscheduled meeting of the Redevelopment Entity of Gloucester Township. While unscheduled, it was properly advertised as a public legal notice.
This area is a designated redevelopment area of Gloucester Township, which gives the town more flexibility over creating focused zoning rules for that area.
Because of this designation the Redevelopment team is an added review/approval step necessary prior to development.
Gloucester Township seems to have redevelopment of Downtown Blackwood as a key focus, as last month I reported they will be converting the old bank building at the Church Street intersection into a Community and Arts Center/
I believe there is also a new owner for the Palace catering complex and I am trying reach out to the owner. He operates other South Jersey businesses so I may have to pop in!
Southwinds Downtown Blackwood Redevelopment
The sample building renderings provide a “look” that takes one back to a long-ago time in small town America.
A more ornate design that you would expect to see in late 1800s architecture of Cape May or Disney World’s Main Street!
The design offers a mix of experiences to visitors, with unique building compositions and a mix of outdoor spaces. It’s far from a rectangular “cookie cutter” design that we’ve all come to expect today.
The new Downtown Blackwood project is planned to be located across from Lincoln Ave, and as I mentioned… will wrap around both sides of and behind, the existing Maxi-Shine carwash.
Currently the property is mostly undeveloped. Along the Black Horse Pike this property also has a closed commercial building and cleared lot.
That deeper portions of the lot look like they have never been developed.
Based on the site plan presented the car wash property as well as a residential property on the Black Horse Pike will not be part of this new project.
This would be a second large project in that area for Southwinds, and the two will connect.
Southwinds is already developing a three section housing development in the wooded area framed by the Black Horse Pike and Blenheim-Erial Road. 42Freeway covered that other project back in May of this year.
On the Black Horse Pike near the high-voltage lines there is a large clearing, and that is where Southwinds is already developing 158 townhomes.
That existing project will run further back behind the car wash, and that is where the new and current project would meet.
I feel that is difficult to explain so give the site plan image a look to understand better!
Let’s dig into what the new Southwinds Downtown Blackwood proposal is all about.
The front facing portion of the property on both sides of the car wash features six uniquely designed, mostly commercial, buildings.
The buildings appear to feature a unique set of designs as well as outdoor patio spaces.
Listed in the accompanying documents are the following types of usages:
|4,750 sf Outdoor
|Retail / Cafe
|1,100 sf Covered Seating
|Artisan Workshops (2nd flr)
|Brewery / Restaurant
|1,800 sf Covered Seating
|Gym / Yoga Studio
|Makerhoods Workspaces + Offices
Now don’t get too excited over seeing “brewery” in the list. I really think that is just the designers putting a relatable business type to a preliminary design document.
They also list “Markerhoods Workspaces” which are spaces for typically self-employed people to design and build things…. furniture, clothing, art. You name it!
So yes this plan is trying to be a hip and cool urban style small village of walkable businesses to work, eat and play.
The housing portion is separated into two segments; 66 apartments and 18 townhomes.
Some of the apartments are mixed into the already mentioned commercial buildings… say on the upper floors of the buildings which would have a restaurant or studio on the first floor.
The townhomes are positioned in the back corner so that where this newer project connects with the one already being developed, the two projects more naturally blend together.
Well, I am not sure!
The information I have now is related to what was presented in the meeting last month, but I currently do not have details on what was said at the meeting.
Again I believe this is a preliminary look at the project so the developer can solicit feedback from the Redevelopment committee ahead of a later Planning Board Meeting.
Last week I did reach out the Gloucester Township representatives for a comment on the project, but I have not received a reply.
I imagine that this is still very early in the process, but as things move forward you know 42Freeway will be on top of it!