Evesham Township is developing an even brighter future for businesses, the community.
It’s an exciting time in Evesham thanks to a slew of development projects and community initiatives that are helping to improve the quality of life in the area and spur business growth. We spoke with township manager Thomas Czerniecki to get a glimpse into what’s going on around town.
What can you tell me about the current state of business development in Evesham? There seems to be a lot going on right now.
In any municipality, the state of business development is best measured by the value of new construction and reinvestment in existing structures. In 2014, Evesham Township recorded $30 million in construction activity. This is the first time since the 2008 Recession that growth has been positive. The fact that we were able to attract this level of capital investment is indicative of the appeal and strength of the business climate in Evesham. In short, the state of business development in Evesham is strong and getting stronger.
What can you tell me about Evesham’s 10-year development plan that is underway? What projects have taken place and what’s in the works?
The Evesham 2020 Vision Plan grew out of opportunities the township thought could emerge from the NJDOT project to eliminate the old Marlton Circle at the intersection of Routes 70 and 73. The Marlton Circle elimination project was started in 2008 and the new plan, which was needed to match the new traffic patterns, was adopted in 2009. As a result, there are five significant multi-lot projects now under consideration and numerous other smaller initiatives in the works. The township anticipates that when these projects are complete, the value of the construction will equal approximately $100 million.
As the Marlton Circle elimination project unfolded, Mayor Randy Brown and the township council invited every resident to have a say in the vision for the future of Evesham and the construction area. The residents did not simply express opinions on something already developed. Instead, they provided a foundation for Evesham’s future, from which the plan was drafted. About 300 residents and 1,000 collective hours of input and study were received and processed to create the Evesham 2020 Vision Plan.
What are five of the biggest goals of the plan?
1. Making our historic Main Street more of a vibrant town center through redevelopment and various civic events such as Independence Day celebration and Taste of Evesham, which highlights community restaurants and related specialty shops.
2. Define the immediate area around the Route 70 and 73 intersection as a landmark area with signature architecture that we call the Evesham Crossroads.
3. Transform outmoded vacant retail strip centers into more interesting mixed-use and pedestrian oriented areas.
4. Recognize the importance of connecting places for pedestrians.
5. Strengthen the quality of life in existing neighborhoods through improvements in parks, traffic calming measures, road and sidewalk maintenance and streetscaping.
The township has implemented dozens of initiatives supported by the plan through its annual capital improvement program. What are the most visible and symbolic projects?
Redevelopment of the vacant former municipal building site into the new Gateway Apartments on Main Street that now feature 59 high quality apartments. Prior to this project, the former municipal complex stood vacant for over a decade generating zero economic activity and projecting an uncertain future for the surrounding area. This important Main Street property is now a $6 million ratable and provides nearby businesses with new customers.
In 2012, the township welcomed a new Aldi grocery store, which included a facelift for the other retail stores on the site. Keeping with the Plan, this area now better serves residents and businesses on the western end of the township near Cherry Hill. The area struggled for many years and now contributes to a more dynamic mix of uses for residents in the area.
Other important projects the township is celebrating now under construction on Route 70 include: A new Republic Bank that brings a unique architectural element to the corridor; a Super Wawa; and an Enterprise Car Center. These are all located along Route 70 as you enter Evesham from Cherry Hill.
The township’s 2020 Vision Plan is not only used to attract new development, but to strengthen existing business areas as well. In the fall of 2014, the township welcomed Carlo’s Bake Shop to the Marlton Square shopping area, which is the Cake Boss’ only store in South Jersey and reinforces the area of the Promenade and Marlton Square as a destination. The township council also approved a redevelopment agreement for the development of a 55-unit apartment building on South Maple Street and on a portion of the Marlton Square shopping area.
In March 2015, the township council approved a plan to revitalize an antiquated and mostly vacant single-tenant office condo complex on Route 73 in the area of Lincoln Drive West. When completed, the remaining offices will have access to a fitness center, a AAA automotive center, dining and other services. This project will strengthen the appeal of the remaining office structures and enhance easy access to amenities for nearby residential neighborhoods.
The Tri-Towne and Aristone are two of the bigger projects you have going on at the moment. What exactly do they entail?
Tri-Towne is an antiquated and mostly vacant retail center on Route 70. After initially seeking to condemn the property, the township is in the advanced stages of negotiations with a redeveloper. Initial plans call for the creation of a mixed use area that contains a formally landscaped linear park fronting Route 70, pedestrian paths linking neighborhoods to shops, and high quality rental apartments, which include health care facilities, restaurants and a revitalized retail area. In recognition of the area’s transformation, the development will be called Renaissance Square. The Aristone project will be a more contained community but will also include new retail uses for the community and general population. Aristone is at the entrance into Evesham from Medford on Route 70.
How will this development be beneficial for not only Evesham, but South Jersey as a whole?
Prospective residents and employers alike are focused on the quality of life in the towns and regions they would consider calling home. Any time we can strengthen the links between employment, housing, recreation and leisure, opportunities for social interaction and commercial activity we become a more balanced, and therefore a more resilient, community. The benefits of that resiliency extend to our neighboring communities and we benefit from their progress as well. One interesting example, which illustrates these mutual benefits, is our recent investment in the Diamonds at Arrowhead turf baseball/softball complex. This brings many benefits to Evesham, and the residents in our neighboring towns who are always welcome to participate in our programs when feasible. Further, when we host tournaments, the communities that have quality hotels benefit from these events through room occupancy fees while the availability of lodging allows us to better market the facility and benefit from the economic activity associated with these events.
From a business perspective, is there hope that this spike will possibly attract even more businesses to call Evesham home?
The township is confident that making the commercial areas more diversified by promoting a variety of inter-related uses, and strong neighborhoods, more companies will consider making Evesham their headquarters. It is important to underscore our growing reputation as a business friendly government that works with business to create mutually beneficial projects.
What makes Evesham a good business location in your mind; why should folks want to set up shop there?
Location is always important and Evesham’s commercial corridor is great. It radiates in all directions from the crossroads of Route 70 and 73 and has become a desirable business address. Aside from the visibility of the area, the township is working hard to make its commercial areas physically attractive with a dynamic array of interesting uses. For those businesses considering relocating operations and their employees to our town, the quality of life in our community makes this a very desirable location.
The township is proud of its extensive recreational spaces, top-notch public services, highly regarded schools, and tons of opportunities to do fun and interesting things with friends and neighbors within the community. Lastly, as a full-service municipality, Evesham is proud of the fact that its per capita municipal budget is well below the state and regional average.
What are some of the other unique aspects to Evesham Township in your mind?
One of the very unique amenities that residents and visitors enjoy is the township owned and operated Indian Spring Golf Course, which is one of the most successful public golf courses in the area. It features a very well-maintained 18-hole golf course and banquet facility. Public ownership of this establishment makes the local government uniquely sensitive to the business climate in the township.
In 2012 Evesham was one of the first communities to implement a state law providing enhanced powers to address abandoned properties and help put them in the hands of responsible homeowners.
Lastly, public safety and property protection is an essential component of a thriving community. Evesham is one of a small handful of New Jersey municipalities to have a CALEA certified police department, which is the highest standard of performance that a law enforcement agency can attain.
Good for Business
Local companies tell us why Evesham is the perfect place.
“Marlton is a great location for our company, as the town provides many amenitites and offers easy access for our real estate team to travel throughout the tri-state region. Overall, it’s a well-known business community and great place to work.”
—Jason M. Wolf, managing principal, Wolf Commercial Real Estate
“Family & Co. Jewelers is true to our name; we are very family oriented. Marlton is a wonderful place for families. Marlton has great schools, churches and synagogues; an active recreation program and fun family events; The Marlton Expo, Taste of Evesham, Harvest Fest, 4th of July, Christmas Tree Walking Tour, the list goes on and on. All of these contribute to making Marlton a great place to live and work.”
—Angelo Breaux, owner, Family & Co. Jewelers
“Being located in Marlton keeps us centrally located to many of the towns we serve on the landscape end and also the towns that we draw from on the retail end. Because of this central location we’ve been able to build a strong and loyal customer base through the 29 years we have been in business. As new homes have been built through the years we’ve been able to provide goods and services for these homeowners. We’ve been able to grow with our community. We’ve been able to be successful because we get involved in the community, helping out with school and civic functions. When homeowners see you donating time and materials to various causes in the community, it's only natural for them to want to frequent your business.”
—Dave Scott, president/owner, Laurel Oak Garden Center
“I’ve been a Marlton resident since relocating from the Shore in the mid-’90s. For our business, we found Marlton to be the perfect blend of convenient location and relaxed suburban atmosphere. Access to the Shore areas, Philadelphia, and even Northern N.J. via the Turnpike makes getting to our clients a breeze. The suburban feel—with wooded areas still visible and overall less traffic than some areas—makes it a more comfortable place to do business. Several years ago we considered relocating, but after considering a number of factors, we concluded Marlton was the perfect location. Anywhere else was either too congested, too much drive time to our clients, or our employees just didn’t want to drive there every day.”
—Darren L. Crane, president, DLC Technology Solutions Inc.
“Marlton in less than a year has welcomed our Rastelli Family with open arms. It’s an ideal place for families, food enthusiasts and those who seek fresh, approachable cuisine. We’ve seen an increase of interest and participation for our Chef Series cooking classes and are overwhelmed with the amount of community related events that are thrilled to host their event at Rastelli Market Fresh of Marlton. The word-of-mouth approach in Marlton has definitely proven to be successful.”
—Lauren Rastelli, director of marketing, Rastelli Market Fresh
“Marlton, and Evesham Twp. at large, has been steadily improving and moving ahead whether we look at leadership at the council and municipal levels, a vibrant business community represented by the Marlton Business Association, the exciting changes coming to our Main Street and Renaissance Shoppes and Residences and the sense of community that we continue to foster. I’ve lived in Marlton for 25 years and couldn’t imagine putting my businesses anywhere but here.”
—Daniel Morton, president, Morton Financial Services; managing partner, Marlton Business Advantage Insurance Agency
“Powerful and personal. Friedman’s motto is summarized in these two powerful words—words that also describe the town of Marlton. Surrounding Friedman’s Marlton office are small, mid-size and large business organizations who all network together to help each other succeed and grow. The sense of community here is quite special.”
—Carl H. Bagell, manging partner, Friedman LLP
“Being in the heart of Evesham Township has been a tremendous boost for our business. The community goes out of their way to support local business. … The vibrancy of Evesham is so unique that it has the small town feel, but is the largest municipality in Burlington County.”
—Robert Kelley, partner/COO, Evesham Mortgage
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 5, Issue 4 (April, 2015).
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