Next time you hear someone complaining about a property tax hike, point them to Narberth. The Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison reports the Montgomery County Borough has—for the fifth year in a row—kept its no-tax increase rate.
A 6-0 vote by Borough Council in late December ended in favor of keeping the 8.777 mills real estate tax rate, which Allison says it’s had since 2011.
For a moment there, though, it didn’t seem like it would happen. In November, borough manager Bill Martin estimated that a “tax rate increase of .399 mills, to 9.194 mills” might be needed.
According to Allison, avoiding the rate hike was made possible thanks to an interest rate on a short-term loan that was going to cover removal costs of the former Rockland Avenue Bridge in 2013, as well as the proceeds from the project. Another factor keeping the rate in line was a “per-ton cost for solid waste disposal.” This cost is set to keep waste fees at bay this year.
• No property tax increase in Narberth Borough for fifth year [Main Line Times]
In other news…
Do you remember this elephantine property? We indirectly wrote about it this past summer when neighboring Sylvan Edge was also put on the market. Then, Lynnewood’s owner was asking for $20 million, but yesterday its price was reduced to $18.5 million.
The 34-acre estate, designed by Horace Trumbauer at Peter A.B. Widener’s request, consists of a Neoclassical Revival super-mansion with 110 rooms and a carriage house inspired by Versailles’ Petite Trianon. Trumbauer went on to expand the property with the Van Dyck gallery for Widener’s extensive art collection, which would later be sold off or relocated as Widener descendants lost touch with the estate.
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Alright, let me preface this by saying I’m not trying to get Mr. Cooper stalked or anyone in trouble. BUT, it seems pointless to profile this house without mentioning that a 10-minute walk (at least, according to directions from Google Maps) will get you to his former doorstep.
So no, you wouldn’t be his neighbor-neighbor, per se. Rather, you’d be neighbors in the general neighborhood-y kind of way. Think of it as a fun fact you can tell your grandkids one day (like those stories you hear about your cousin’s best friend’s aunt’s stepfather running into -insert celebrity name here- in an elevator): “We ran into Bradley Cooper while walking Buddy!”
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4030 Township Line Rd, Collegeville, PA, 19426
Where to begin with this woodwork-dominated home? Although falling a few beams short of this splendiferous property in Brandywine, it makes a strong case for itself. Beams are pegged (as opposed to nailed), built-in shelves can be found in the library, and the front door was hand crafted by artist Hugo Mesa (just look at these beauties).
The best part, though? The lower level is slightly reminiscent of old Western saloons. Seriously, the decked out basement has a gym and office as well, but it’s the entertainment area, which looks to have a poker table at the moment, that caught our eye. The listing notes a stone fireplace is down there, too.
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Property owners who had been delinquent for two years had their homes auctioned off in a Thursday sale, earning Montgomery County $2,121,021.20 (including transfer tax). The Main Line Times’ Dan Clark says the money will go to the school district each properties owes money to, while any leftover sums will be divided “between the municipality or borough of the property and county.”
Clark reports 1,294 properties were originally listed in the sale, but that 1,100 of those homes were taken off after property owners paid their taxes back. From those 1,100, $7.4 million was raised. However, not all properties found a bidder (particularly those from the Norristown and Pottstown areas), which means they will be included in a different sale: Read more »
It seems Wynnewood and Conshohocken aren’t the only areas in Montgomery County aiming to reel in those looking for smaller housing. According to recent data by the Norristown Planning commission, Montgomery County housing units went up by 42 percent last year compared to 2012– the largest chunk of that increase being multifamily housing.
Philly.com’s Jessica Sparks reports the amount of single-family homes grew by 19 percent, while single-family attached homes (i.e. duplexes or row houses) rose by 12 percent. The biggest increase was seen in apartment and condo constructions, which tripled in 2013.
Sparks says the Planning Commission’s report, which displayed constructions mainly occurring in Towamencin, Upper Providence, and Montgomery Township among others, found the housing units “added $252 million in taxable property value to the county.”
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630 Washington Ln, Jenkintown, PA, 19046
Jenkintown may have only been incorporated in the last two centuries, but the Montgomery County borough was actually settled in 1697 by Welshman William Jenkins. One of Jenkins’ descendants, Stephen Jenkins, built this three-story home (called “Vernon”) in the area over a hundred years later, and it is believed to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Here’s what you should know about Vernon: It’s a colonial that sits far back from the road on 2.6 acres of land and has two separate driveways leading up to it. Hardwood floors and custom millwork are home highlights, but a vaulted-ceiling family room with exposed wood, wrought-iron beams, and stone accent walls merits a mention as well (a hidden wet bar is located here).
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Modern office spaces continue to pop up here and there throughout the city, enticing young professionals who favor shared, open areas at work. However, as Jon Hurdle observes in a New York Times article this morning, Philadelphia isn’t the only place trying to lure in millennials with quotidian urban-living attractions.
Developers in Conshohocken are having a go at it too.
Proving to be prime real estate for developers who see it as having all the right elements for bringing in residents/workers in the 20-to-30-something age range, Conshohocken’s “office hub” reputation appears to be sealed as they seek to develop more of the area. Case in point, a list of new projects, three of which would be on the riverfront:
Four buildings totaling 1.25 million square feet are proposed, in what would be the first big additions to the town’s commercial real estate since the recession.
They are 400 West Elm, a 340,000-square-foot, 10-story structure on a wooded site; Seven Tower Bridge, covering 260,000 square feet on 10 floors; Millennium Four, a 300,000-square-foot project; and One Conshohocken, covering 350,000 square feet. The first three would be built on riverside sites.
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Exterior shot of Ryan Howard’s Blue Bell home.
Ryan Howard’s custom-made home in Montgomery County, placed on the market in June, is now pending sale. The deal is expected to close sometime in August, according to Philly.com. What does it mean? Where is Howard going? When? Will the Phils release him?
From a baseball standpoint, we don’t know right now. But from a real estate standpoint, we do know this: He’s certainly not going to live in his still-in-construction 20-room Florida mansion. He used to spend time in Rittenhouse Square, where pals Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon settled, as PhillyChitChat’s HughE Dillon noted in October:
Whatever the case, the sale of his Deerfield Estates home is a lucky break. The property may have attracted more curious fans than actual potential buyers in the beginning, as hinted by the listing’s closing line: “Only qualified buyers, please. Listing agent must accompany…”
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Montgomery Plaza office buildings, courtesy of Google Street View
The Inquirer’s Jessica Parks reports that Montgomery County, after selling off much of its property over the last year, is reconsidering what to do with its headquarters and central offices in Norristown. The county is hiring a consultant to study the options, “including rehabilitating One Montgomery Plaza, building atop the county courthouse plaza, replacing an underground parking garage, renovating or tearing down the old stone prison, or even expanding the county footprint by buying the Post Office building behind the courthouse.” The 10-story One Montgomery Plaza alone needs at least $17 million in repairs.
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