Llanrech quarry to become new shopping center

Friday, April 27, 2012

The site of the old Llanerch quarry will soon be the Quarry Center, a new shopping plaza along West Chester Pike and Township Line Road in Havertown.

"We wanted this to look like just what came out of here," said David Crockett.

Inside a trailer, tucked in the corner of a huge expanse of empty land, David Crockett is once again reincarnating the piece of earth beneath him.

"When we purchased the property it took us about a year to drain the water out of it," said Crockett.

That was back in 1981, when the spot at the intersection of West Chester Pike and Township Line Road was home to the Llanerch Quarry, a veritable treasure trove of granite that had been dug out, and replaced by water from a nearby stream.

Once drained, Crockett turned it into a so called clean land-fill, filling it back up again, not with trash, but with brick, block, stone, concrete, old asphalt and dirt, says Crockett.

By 2010, there was no more room below ground, but in Crockett's mind, there was still plenty of room above it. And so the Quarry Center was born.

The plot will soon be occupied by 250,000 square feet of retail space, including a Giant Supermarket, and a Lowe's, the first one in Delaware County.

Given that the space was once nothing more than a giant, empty hole in the ground, building there is not quite like building anywhere else.

Developers had to make sure the landfill could support the structures that will be on top of it.

"They basically take a large piece of concrete on a crane, and they just smash the ground down," said Crockett.

That is to make certain that what rises there will never sink.

And there is a lot riding on what has already been fertile ground, the Quarry Center is expected to generate more than $600,000 in local taxes each year, and create some 300 to 400 permanent jobs.

And, planners say, it should be open for business by Christmas; one more gift from a swath of earth that has given more than most thought possible.

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