Southeastern PA

Developer plans large public market in downtown Quakertown

QUAKERTOWN, Pa. - Like many other communities across America, Quakertown wants to bring people back to its downtown.

"We in Quakertown are embracing the changes, the challenges and the opportunities that come with revitalization," said Naomi Naylor, Executive Director of the nonprofit working to develop the town called Quakertown Alive!.

One major aspect of the rejuvenation is the development of several properties around the historic downtown train station.

Developers Chris LaBonge and Ian Jeffery have teamed up for the project, which includes transforming Quakertown's old trolley barn into a public market. 

"We're very close to (Route) 313 here," said LaBonge. "We have 15,000 cars that go up and down the road every day. We want them driving by, feeling that energy, and hopefully pulling them into the venue." 

He's calculating that Quakertown has a demand for more restaurants, shops, and bars, and can support a space similar to Easton Public Market. 

The vision includes bringing more than a dozen vendors into the building, which he plans to be two stories, and constructing an outdoor area next to the market. 

Next door to the trolley barn, there was once a freight house, which the pair is also developing. 

The plan is for Jeffery to move his restaurant Fries Rebellion, currently on Route 309, into the building.

"The borough will be paving the back of this for them because we need a lot of parking for this kind of project," said Naylor, estimating about 200 spaces will soon exist to serve the buildings.  

Whether they can bring people to fill those parking spaces is a question that will be answered soon.

"Timeline is hard to predict," said LaBonge. "We're hoping that we can get some of these initial properties up within the next twelve months."

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