A Commonwealth Court judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging a controversial mixed-use development in Ardmore, paving the way for Dranoff Properties to proceed with the project after years of delay.
The plan calls for an eight-story residential tower with stores, restaurants, and a parking garage on the Cricket Avenue parking lot off Lancaster Avenue.
A group of residents contend the $60 million project is too dense for downtown Ardmore. Their lawsuit, filed in August, argued that the development should be ineligible for $10.5 million in public funding for which it has been approved.
But in a 22-page opinion, President Judge Dan Pellegrini dismissed that claim.
Philip Browndeis, president of the group that brought the suit, Save Ardmore Coalition, said the residents were disappointed but not conceding defeat.
"We're going to discuss our options, including appeal," he said.
An appeal would have to be filed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
John S. Summers, a lawyer who represents Lower Merion Township, was pleased with the ruling.
"We have always believed that the lawsuit was an ill-conceived last-ditch effort to derail a sound and much-needed project that the Save Ardmore Coalition has meritlessly opposed for more than a decade," he said in a statement.
At issue was $10.5 million in state funding the project is slated to receive from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, a program that subsidizes community projects. The money is part of a grant that also approves $3.5 million to fund SEPTA's renovation of the Ardmore train station.
The lawsuit argued that Dranoff's portion of the project was ineligible for the grant because the money was initially intended only for the rehabilitation of the train station. Browndeis contended the grant was improperly changed and its funds diverted to subsidize a planned luxury apartment complex on the Cricket lot.
In his opinion, Pellegrini disagreed, concluding there had been no secret or improper changes to the plan. "The development of the Cricket lot and the mixed-use building are not changed at all but have been contemplated from day one," he wrote.
Dranoff said Tuesday he remains committed to revitalizing Ardmore.
"Almost a decade from our first engagement here, we look forward to breaking ground on this exciting project," he said in a statement.
Lower Merion officials have supported development on the site since 2003, when the township approved a redevelopment plan for Ardmore.
"While we appreciate that a handful of citizens have opposed this project, many more enthusiastically support it," said Elizabeth S. Rogan, president of the board of commissioners. "The time has come for the project to move forward to completion."