When Bill Murphy, president of Murphy Architectural Group in West Chester, Pa., was hired by Delancey Gettysburg Assocs. to design Gettysburg Village Factory Stores on a budget of $46 per sf, he found his inspiration in the small towns in southwestern Pennsylvania. Those villages remain today little architectural gems with their charming train stations, general stores, hotels and housing.
“I have a large box of photographs and watercolors that I did of hundreds of buildings and street scenes,” Murphy told the Philadelphia Enquirer in late September. “We couldn’t afford every style and detail, but the end product has pleased both the builder and the developer.”
Trying to capture the spirit and character of the Civil War-era architecture, Murphy says he borrowed ideas from buildings in Gettysburg and neighboring towns. The resulting design is a project that has become a vintage Main Street with a covered bandstand, awnings, fountains and signs lighted by gooseneck fixtures. One important consideration Murphy insisted on is that Gettysburg Village Factory Stores not look like a tourist trap.
“We have very strong feelings about that,” Murphy told the Enquirer. “There will be no plastic statues of Lincoln scattered around the mall.”
Gettysburg Village Factory Stores is the first outlet project developed by Philadelphia-based Delancey Gettysburg Associates LP, but parent Delancey Investment Group is a large real estate investment, development and management firm which was founded in 1992 in Philadelphia by its president and principal shareholder, Kenneth P. Balin.
Delancey Investment’s portfolio also includes traditional shopping centers, office buildings, hotels, apartments and mixed-use properties.
Balin’s partner in the Gettysburg outlet project is Boyle, with the partnership doing business as Delancey-Boyle Retail Group. As president of the Malvern, Pa.- based Boyle Group, Boyle originally conceived the Gettysburg Village project in the mid 1990s and 2 years ago brought Delancey Investment Group in as a partner.
“I would like to thank all the outlet retailers who hung in with me for up to 5 long years that finally culminated in a wonderfully successful center,” he says.
The center is expected to draw heavily on tourist traffic to the national battlefield site and also to the nearby Eisenhower National Historic Site where President Dwight D. Eisenhower had a farm and retreat, as well as other tourist attractions linked to these.
Gettysburg is 40 miles from Pennsylvania’s capital, Harrisburg; 54 miles from Baltimore and 78 miles from Washington, D.C. Boyle estimates that almost 1 million people live within 30 miles of Gettysburg and 6 million with 60 miles.
Delancey Boyle Retail Group has another outlet center project under way. The 200,000-sf phase 1 of Medford (N.J.) Village East Factory Stores is scheduled to open next spring. It will be on SR 70 about 35 miles east of Philadelphia.