Lancaster’s Planning Commission will allow Park City Center’s owner to move ahead with demolishing the empty Bon-Ton space prior to rebuilding the entrance there and adding sites for two future restaurants. 

But several commission members had reservations about Brookfield Partners' plans. Among other things, they wondered why the company wants to add more parking to the copious amounts already there.

"How does this design anticipate future changes?" commission chairwoman Eve Bratman asked.

The idea is to transform a part of the mall that's especially visible to passing motorists into an appealing "front door" to draw them in, Claire Vitto, Brookfield’s director of development, told the commission.

That involves making sure they can see plenty of convenient parking, she said.

"Tenants will lease off of that," she said.

The Bon-Ton has been closed for more than a year. Brookfield wants to tear it down as soon as possible in order to complete a new entrance for the mall’s southwest wing in time for the 2020 holiday season.

Park City's Bon-Ton faces demolition: Mall seeks city's OK to tear down vacant store, make way for new use

Outside, a portion of the Bon-Ton property and parking lot would be reconfigured into pad sites for two restaurants. The remainder would become a landscaped parking lot.

The number of conventional parking spaces would decrease by five, but additional motorcycle and handicapped spaces would increase total parking by more than 30 spots, project manager Sandy Kime of ELA Group said.

Vitto said Brookfield is exploring "opportunities for further development" at the property, but it would be premature to disclose them.

She said the company continues to invest in Park City and confident it can maintain its viability in today’s rapidly changing retail environment.

Brookfield intends to return to the commission shortly with full plans for the entrance and pad sites. It will need to do so again when it’s ready to add the restaurants. The timeline for them will depend on leasing, Vitto said.