EXETER TWP., Pa.- There have been many changes regarding the future of the Exeter Promenade shopping center, which has sat largely vacant for the last decade.
Last fall, Exeter Township bought the complex with plans to use it as a municipal building, and since then, township manager Jeffrey Bartlett said the building was deemed uninsurable as it is.
"From a practical standpoint, it made no sense to keep and maintain a building that's in that bad of shape," Bartlett said. "The option would be that we would need to repair the entire building, all the roofing and any mold that was in the building."
Instead, the township is opting to demolish it, and the four remaining businesses Holiday Hair, Best China Chef, Riveira Pizza and Moto Photo have 90 days to be out.
"It shouldn't be a total surprise," says Bartlett. "When you're going to operate on a month-to-month lease, sometimes, the inevitable might happen."
The business owners still there said communication has been lacking since the township initially made the decision and as it's continued to evolve.
"We really haven't had any correspondence with any of the township people," said Sheri Matheson, owner of Moto Photo. "Nobody's come to see us or talk to us or tell us what's going on."
Matheson, who has been there for more than two decades, already has another location lined up a few miles down the road, but she said it will be more difficult for the other businesses to move.
Pang Fei Chan, owner of Best China Chef and the car wash on the property, said moving a restaurant is no small task.
"The kitchen and everything is just made customized," said Chan. "I can't just remove the hood and bring it somewhere else. It's not going to work that way."
Chan said he's made several calls to the township to talk with representatives about what's going on, but he said he hasn't heard back. He's hoping they can help him relocate his business somewhere else in Exeter.
"I'm hoping they'll be more humane to us, because we've been here for many years," said Chan. "We put all our life work over here. I'm hoping they could help us out to relocate us, at least to help us to move somewhere else instead of just asking us out."
Bartlett said once the tenants are out, the township will be looking at bids to demolish the building then looking at the feasibility of building a new municipal complex from scratch. That would include police, public works, administrative offices, and potentially a new fire station and community complex.