Phoenixville, Chester County
Pre-war twins sit cheek-to-jowl with Victorians and new condos in a borough where CEOs and construction workers all shop at the same organic grocery. The small but flourishing downtown and a recent flood of young people up the cool factor, too.
Schools: High-ranking Phoenixville Area High School has a 15:1 student-teacher ratio.
Commute to Philly: 40 minutes by car; 20-minute drive to the Villanova train station, then 25 minutes on the R5.
Things you get: Housing from $150,000 to $600,000-plus; parks galore, including neighboring Valley Forge; 32 places of worship; Civic Center family nights; neighborhood hangs (Pickering Creek Inn, Iron Hill Brewery … ).
Things you don’t: A train stop. Every township along the 422 corridor wants a line, but it hasn’t happened yet. Also, good Chinese food.
Betcha didn’t know: Oft overshadowed by Colonial Theatre’s BlobFest, the Firebird Festival bonfires a locally crafted sculpture of a phoenix.
Residents you ought to know: David Friday and Lindsay Herman, owners of Bridge Street’s stylish Hipster Home (meet ’em on First Fridays); Dan and Marge Lejeune, who built Phoenixville’s private golf club, Rivercrest.
The future: More momentum behind Project Train. In the meantime, more bike paths and off-trail bike parking.
Meet the neighbors: “We bought 20 years ago,” says Greg Cordes, who lives with his wife, Linda, in a 1938 colonial, “and it turned out to be a gold mine. Down the street is Holy Family school, where our daughter went. We can walk to the theater, shopping, to eat. We’re selling our house — it’s too big for us now — but we’re staying here. Forever.”
Wanna buy here? “Prices are reasonable, especially with so many community amenities,” says Joseph Scott McArdle, of Prudential Fox & Roach. “But places priced the same can be in vastly different condition. Look at everything, and make sure your agent knows Phoenixville and knows a deal from … what’s not.”
Just sold: A new-construction one-bedroom condo with garage parking, hardwood floors and an eco-friendly kitchen, for $165,500.
You might also like: Manayunk … hardscrabble historic, community-oriented, close to Center City, and ready for a rebound.