Heavy machinery began ripping down vacant storefronts in College Square Shopping Center this week as an ambitious redevelopment plan kicks into gear.

The demolition is taking place in the southern half of the shopping center, which has only two stores remaining – Hair Cuttery, which will move to a renovated space in the northern half of the shopping center next month, and Pep Boys, which will be leaving College Square by 2021.

Much of that retail space will be replaced by two large apartment buildings containing a total of 306 units. Some retail space will remain in the location of the former Kmart, and two standalone retail buildings – expected to house a fast-casual or drive-thru restaurant and a pharmacy with a drive-thru – are planned for the side near Library Avenue, including one where Pep Boys is now.

The northern half of College Square – where Acme and the former Sears Hardware are – was recently renovated, and those buildings will remain, as will the WSFS Bank.

The developer, Fusco Enterprises, also plans to build a road through the center of the shopping plaza – essentially extending Delaware Avenue through to Marrows Road.

In between the lanes of the road will be a community plaza containing tables and benches. The plaza will create a neighborhood atmosphere and also serve as a traffic calming measure. Surrounding the central road will be five buildings, expected to be occupied by a coffee shop and restaurants with outdoor seating.

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