Thursday, August 21, 2014
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Town By Town: Why a lot of people want to live in Lansdale

Streetscape shots along East 7th and Ridge Street in Lansdale. Montgomery County.  Once the industrial center of Eastern Montgomery, Lansdale is searching for a new identity. There is a downtown revitalization and an effort to come up with a coherent open space policy with only 2 pct of the boros land unbuilt. Yet, the downtown is still quaint, housing prices are reasonable and the stock varied, with a median of 183K and a range from $90K to $400K. And lets not forget the rail station and the doylestown line.	Lansdale train station and inside with people waiting and the snack bar. Outside in a park there is a fountain where kids roll a ball. Florist shop across from station has clever Lansdale t shirts in the window Borough Hall has big period photo of Lansdale on wall at entrance. Shoot down the railroad tracks toward Philly at Broad at Vine and Railroad of old fashioned warehouse for sale but show the tracks and the wires Along North Broad Street there are Victorians on either side that have been turned into office buildings for lawyers and others At west sixth and north broad there is a little park in front of a continuing care facilities where elderly sit. Streetscape shots along East 7th and Ridge. Large singles north toward Elm New townhouses (finished) at East 7th and North Line East 4th and North Line new construction of townhouses underway. Across from it is a neat alley of garages. South Line and Penn Silk Factory Lofts; Crossings at Stanbridge at S. Chestnut and Jenkins (typical of apartments) West Main Street (downtown) Lansdale. a couple of shots Maybe Kurt at Kurt´s Magic at Green and West Main will do a trick for the camera. Also 810 W. Second, Cardinal Camera, interviewed owner Kurt Seelig Houses for sale: 219 East 4th; 534 E. Hancock; 860 W. Second  05/14/2013 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )
Streetscape shots along East 7th and Ridge Street in Lansdale. Montgomery County. Once the industrial center of Eastern Montgomery, Lansdale is searching for a new identity. There is a downtown revitalization and an effort to come up with a coherent open space policy with only 2 pct of the boros land unbuilt. Yet, the downtown is still quaint, housing prices are reasonable and the stock varied, with a median of 183K and a range from $90K to $400K. And lets not forget the rail station and the doylestown line. Lansdale train station and inside with people waiting and the snack bar. Outside in a park there is a fountain where kids roll a ball. Florist shop across from station has clever Lansdale t shirts in the window Borough Hall has big period photo of Lansdale on wall at entrance. Shoot down the railroad tracks toward Philly at Broad at Vine and Railroad of old fashioned warehouse for sale but show the tracks and the wires Along North Broad Street there are Victorians on either side that have been turned into office buildings for lawyers and others At west sixth and north broad there is a little park in front of a continuing care facilities where elderly sit. Streetscape shots along East 7th and Ridge. Large singles north toward Elm New townhouses (finished) at East 7th and North Line East 4th and North Line new construction of townhouses underway. Across from it is a neat alley of garages. South Line and Penn Silk Factory Lofts; Crossings at Stanbridge at S. Chestnut and Jenkins (typical of apartments) West Main Street (downtown) Lansdale. a couple of shots Maybe Kurt at Kurt's Magic at Green and West Main will do a trick for the camera. Also 810 W. Second, Cardinal Camera, interviewed owner Kurt Seelig Houses for sale: 219 East 4th; 534 E. Hancock; 860 W. Second 05/14/2013 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )
Streetscape shots along East 7th and Ridge Street in Lansdale. Montgomery County.  Once the industrial center of Eastern Montgomery, Lansdale is searching for a new identity. There is a downtown revitalization and an effort to come up with a coherent open space policy with only 2 pct of the boros land unbuilt. Yet, the downtown is still quaint, housing prices are reasonable and the stock varied, with a median of 183K and a range from $90K to $400K. And lets not forget the rail station and the doylestown line.	Lansdale train station and inside with people waiting and the snack bar. Outside in a park there is a fountain where kids roll a ball. Florist shop across from station has clever Lansdale t shirts in the window Borough Hall has big period photo of Lansdale on wall at entrance. Shoot down the railroad tracks toward Philly at Broad at Vine and Railroad of old fashioned warehouse for sale but show the tracks and the wires Along North Broad Street there are Victorians on either side that have been turned into office buildings for lawyers and others At west sixth and north broad there is a little park in front of a continuing care facilities where elderly sit. Streetscape shots along East 7th and Ridge. Large singles north toward Elm New townhouses (finished) at East 7th and North Line East 4th and North Line new construction of townhouses underway. Across from it is a neat alley of garages. South Line and Penn Silk Factory Lofts; Crossings at Stanbridge at S. Chestnut and Jenkins (typical of apartments) West Main Street (downtown) Lansdale. a couple of shots Maybe Kurt at Kurt´s Magic at Green and West Main will do a trick for the camera. Also 810 W. Second, Cardinal Camera, interviewed owner Kurt Seelig Houses for sale: 219 East 4th; 534 E. Hancock; 860 W. Second  05/14/2013 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer ) Gallery: Town By Town: Why a lot of people want to live in Lansdale

One in a continuing series spotlighting real estate markets in this region's communities.

 

If you've been house-hunting and Lansdale is on your list of possibilities, consider setting aside Saturday to give this Montgomery County borough the once-over.

Don't expect to be alone, though, because June 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is Lansdale Day, which typically attracts up to 5,000 people downtown, from Green Street to Cannon Avenue, to a fund-raiser for the Rotary of North Penn.

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  • Even without the lure of a day of fun along West Main Street, a lot of people - especially younger ones and first-time buyers in search of affordable housing - have been heading to Lansdale lately.

    It's an incredibly diverse group, evident in Korean churches and ethnic dining spots and markets.

    How does one define affordable here? In 2012, property data show, 121 houses sold, from rowhouses close to downtown, to the larger twins and singles of the West Ward. Prices ranged from $150,000 to $400,000.

    In the last three months, there have been 27 sales, ranging from $91,000 for a 52-year-old two-bedroom/one-bath condo, to $334,268 for a West Ward four-bedroom/two-bath single on just under an acre.

    "It's not like suburbia," says Diane Williams, an agent with Weichert Realtors in Blue Bell, who lived in Lansdale in the 1970s and 1980s and sells houses here. Though the borough is surrounded by Hatfield, Montgomery, Towamencin, and Upper Gwynedd Townships, "Lansdale is a small town in itself," she says.

    Robin Black, who just settled on a circa-1920s corner house in the West Ward, says that the small-town feel helped lure her here from a much larger house in Upper Dublin Township.

    "It reminds of a time back then, when things were simpler," says Black, 54, an artist who plans to use the light and airy enclosed front porch of her new house as her studio.

    "I never knew this place existed," says Black, who has lived in Philadelphia and other area towns and considered Ambler and Willow Grove.

    "You get a lot more here for the money, and taxes are much lower. Even my car insurance dropped $400," says Black, who also likes the walkability.

    Her agent, Weichert's Amy Belsky, noting that this was the first house she has sold in Lansdale, says she, too, was impressed.

    "It seems like a friendly area," Belsky says, adding that Black's prospective neighbors went out of their way to be welcoming, even as they were just looking.

    "The house has a lot of original features, especially the woodwork," something you don't find these days, she says.

    Williams cut her real estate teeth in Lansdale, joining Kenneth Kratz's office on West Main Street in 1983 and remaining there for 10 years.

    "A lot of agents and brokers in the area got their start at Kratz," she says. "It was a great place for an education."

    There are a lot of older houses in Lansdale because it's an old town. It's now on SEPTA's Doylestown line, but the railroad first came here in the 1850s, and the borough, incorporated in 1872, served an industrial hub.

    Jenkins Homestead, a 1770s-era Federalist-style farmstead, is the oldest building within the original borders of Lansdale. The property, along with the former Interstate Hosiery Mill at South Line and Penn Streets, are on the National Register of Historic Places.

    The mill is now Silk Factory Lofts, 115 apartment units renting for $1,145 to $2,230 a month.

    Other older buildings have been repurposed, too. The old North Penn Hospital at Seventh and Broad Streets, for example, is Elm Terrace Gardens, a nonprofit continuing-care retirement community.

    What little empty space there is here is being acquired by developers taking advantage of growing buyer interest in Lansdale, Williams says.

    For example, W.B. Homes of North Wales is building Williamson Square at Fourth and Line Streets - 20 three-story townhouses and eight three-story twins just six blocks from the train station and starting about $258,000, according to Move.com.

    The influx of new residents has helped downtown Lansdale, which suffered as malls popped up in the surrounding towns.

    There are new restaurants and businesses, as well as many established ones owned by people who thrived in slower times. There are Asian grocery stores and a multicultural barbershop, reflecting the population's increasing diversity.

    Kurt Seelig owns Cardinal Camera & Video on West Second Street, founded by his grandfather in 1937.

    "We've always had a loyal following, customers who prefer to go to us rather than the big-box camera stores," says Seelig, a Hatfield resident who bought his current building in 1979 and continues to add services, including an area for children.

    "My customer base has changed," he says. "There are a lot more females, especially young mothers and lots of kids."

    In the old days, Friday night at Cardinal Camera was a "male hangout," Seelig says. "But not anymore."

     


    Town By Town: Lansdale, By the Numbers

    Population:

    16,269 (2010)

    Median income: $46,202 (2009)

    Area: 3.1 square miles

    Homes for sale: 77

    Settlements in the last three months: 27

    Median days on market: 61

    Median sale price (single-family): $183,500

    Median sale price

    (all homes): $183,500

    Housing stock: Varied, with larger-lot singles in the borough's eastern

    and western corners, rowhouses and twins near the center

    School district:

    North Penn

    SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau; City-Data.com; Movoto.com; Borough of Lansdale; Diane Williams, Weichert Realtors; Trend MLS


    Contact Alan J. Heavens

    at 215-854-2472, aheavens@phillynews.com or @alheavens at Twitter.

    Alan J. Heavens Inquirer Real Estate Columnist
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