The NAS-JRB Willow Grove Redevelopment Plan represents a culmination of months of research and input from the HLRA Board and Horsham community. The resulting plan seeks a balance of land uses that capitalize on the region's strengths, as well as the needs and wants of the community.
The Redevelopment Plan is focused on the creation of job generating uses through a variety of mixed used including office parks, a hotel/conference center, low and moderate density residential areas and a Town Center. Possible amenities in the Town Center could include a movie theater, bowling alley, ice skating rink and other retail and restaurant options to serve the Horsham community. The Redevelopment Plan also provides for a school and recreation area, a historical aviation museum, family entertainment facilities and parks and open space.
At build-out the expected total revenues to the School District and Township in 2011 dollars is expected to be approximately $13.6 million, $5 million over anticipated operating costs.
At full build-out, it is estimated that over 7,000 jobs will be created. The majority of jobs are a result of the office park (4,652 jobs) and Town Center retail (1,198 jobs) developments. Annual payroll at build-out is expected to be $457 million.
The Redevelopment Plan includes a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented Town Center that is accessible from both Horsham Road (Route 463) and Easton Road (Route 611). The Town Center will include retail, office, entertainment, and residential uses. The Town Center also provides a sense of place with gathering spaces and a plaza incorporated into the design. The plaza can accommodate a water feature or recreational uses such as an ice skating rink.
The plan provides for distinct residential neighborhoods that include a broad range of housing types and price levels. These neighborhoods are connected together through a network of streets, including a central Grand Boulevard, which provides access to parks and open space. The street network encourages walking and connectivity with the surrounding neighborhoods as well as other uses in the site, such as the Town Center. Residential neighborhoods are centered on a neighborhood park and have easy access to recreational uses including pedestrian and bicycle trails.
Office and business parks are proposed along Horsham Road and south of Maple Avenue and are in close proximity to the proposed Town Center. The office parks are also positioned to take advantage of public open space and golf course amenity that is located in the middle of the office development off Horsham Road.
A hotel and conference center is located near the proposed office parks and mixed-use Town Center. The proposed hotel and conference center facility will have visibility from Easton Road. The hotel is positioned to draw upon the demand that will be generated from the proposed office parks.
Congregate Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) is proposed in the northeast portion of the study area site between the Grand Boulevard and Easton Road. A CCRC is a type of retirement community where a number of senior care needs, from assisted living, independent living and nursing home care, may all be met. Housing types within CCRC's can include detached and attached single family homes, duplexes, quadraplexes, apartments, and assisted living center and nursing care units. Medical office and other support facilities are also proposed in proximity to the CCRC.
A 40-acre site is proposed for the Hatboro-Horsham School District for replacement of existing school facilities and future expansion. The proposed school site would include a future middle school, administrative and recreational uses. The school site is centrally located near the intersection of Grand Boulevard and Privet Road extension and within walking distance of the residential neighborhoods. The school site is adjacent to the recreation center, which allows for the sharing of recreational facilities.
In addition to the retail programmed into the Town Center, the final Preferred Redevelopment Plan has retail frontage along Easton Road. Easton Road is a well-travelled road, and retail located in this area is well-positioned to capture sales support from drive-by traffic.
Regional Recreation Center
A regional indoor recreation center with several outdoor recreation fields is proposed near the existing Gate 1 area with visibility from Easton Road and adjacent to the proposed middle school. The indoor recreation center may include multiple athletic features such as a gymnasium, swimming pool, basketball courts, climbing halls, multi-purpose hall, health and fitness club, tennis and racquetball courts. An outdoor recreational area is also proposed, and may include a range of active recreational fields including soccer, baseball, lacrosse, softball and others. It is hoped that these fields will be used to attract high school and collegiate tournaments for soccer and lacrosse, among others. The recreation center, school, and aviation museum/park were all carefully planned to be clustered together so they could share common facilities and open space features. This allows for a shared parking area between the three uses and shared recreational/field space.
A 13.1-acre site is proposed for the future aviation museum and park located on the eastern edge of the property with direct visibility from Easton Road. The aviation museum and park are being sponsored by Montgomery County, on behalf of the Delaware Valley Historical Aircraft Association (DVHAA). The DVHAA is a nonprofit entity currently operating the existing aviation museum on site. The proposed museum and park will likely include a number of restored aircraft and other historical artifacts relating to the military's past activities at NAS-JRB Willow Grove. In the recent past, the museum operated on 2.6 acres and more recently the HLRA provided additional access to 4.3 acres through a lease agreement between the Navy and the HLRA.
The Plan will provide for an area for permanent supportive housing under provisions of the Base Closure Community Redevelopment and Homeless Assistance Act of 1994 (The Redevelopment Act). The Act details a community based process where representatives of the homeless and other community groups participate in the local reuse planning at closed military facilities. The federal government mandates that groups that provide services to homeless persons and families in Montgomery County or Bucks County be given the opportunity to acquire property at the former NAS-JRB Willow Grove for public benefit use.
The NAS-JRB Willow Grove Redevelopment Plan appropriately balances the needs of the various communities for economic development, other development and homeless assistance. Approximately 10 acres will be designated for 70 permanent supportive housing units in response to the Notice of Interest submitted by Bucks County Housing Group/Genesis Housing Corporation/TRF Development Partners. The residential area will be integrated into the site with amenities and buffers required by all new residential developments in Horsham Township.
The Redevelopment Plan includes a network of parks and open spaces which will be able to provide for a range of recreational uses and activities. A total of 205 acres of open space is proposed within the land use plan, which comprises about 24% percent of the total land area. The parks and open spaces will be able to support natural resources and vegetation. The park and open space network also will be designed to be part of a comprehensive stormwater management system and provide controls to address localized flooding issues at the property boundaries, especially along Keith Valley Road. Pedestrian and bicycle trails will connect the study area with existing local and regional trails within Horsham Township (Samuel Carpenter Park Trail and Power Line Trail, etc.).