| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

Development News

Proposed Swarthmore Town Center West development promises college town's first inn

Unlike many other local colleges and universities, families of Swarthmore College students often have to go miles out of their way to find lodging. It's not uncommon for these families to have to stay as far away as the Airport area. However, if a proposed new Town Center continues on its path to fruition, those visiting the college or the borough won't have to skip town to find a bed. Swarthmore College has begun the re-routing of utilities to allow for Swarthmore Town Center West, which is a complex slated to include an inn, restaurant and lounge, and re-located campus bookstore. 

The idea of an inn in the borough of Swarthmore gets a lot of people excited, whether they're affiliated with the college or live in town. The college is endeavoring to build a 40-45 room inn, which would be open to anyone visiting Delaware County. "It's an idea that's been discussed and debated for a number of years," offers Marty Spiegel, Swarthmore Borough's town center coordinator. This will "draw more people into downtown (Swarthmore)," he adds. Spiegel  especially covets the increased pedestrian traffic he says this inn will generate.

While the inn has a lot of students and townsfolk talking, so too does the idea of a restaurant and lounge. Spiegel recounts that the community would like a restaurant that is a short and non-treacherous walk for residents, as well as an appropriate gathering place for people to meet and chat. The coordinator says the grades are still out as to whether the restaurant will be formal or casual, as the college is currently embarking on marketing studies to see what kind of eatery would work best.   

Currently, Swarthmore College is moving ball fields to potentially make way for the Town Center. Spiegel estimates that plans for the new complex will be ready for preliminary review and analysis in a few months. If all goes according to plan, he believes construction will commence in 2013, with a possible completion and opening date in 2014.  

If Swarthmore Town Center West does get approved, it could also result in a re-engineering of the Route 320 underpass by SEPTA's Swarthmore Station. "This brings added importance to that issue," says Spiegel, who is concerned about the dangers of existing traffic at the intersection of Swarthmore Borough and College, and the commuter traffic from the station. While the southernmost exit of the college, which stares the underpass down, would have to be removed for the Town Center, the new development would undoubtedly bring increased vehicular traffic. 

Spiegel wants to emphasize his wish that the new complex minimize the need to use a car. He explains that the development is "ideally suited" by being convenient to the center of the borough, the college and the train station. He envisions residents and students walking from the borough and the college to grab some dinner, and visitors taking the train to stay at the inn. 

Source: Marty Spiegel, Swarthmore Borough
Writer: Andy Sharpe

Map art by Alex Forbes
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts