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Upscale apartments eyed for long-vacant Perkasie offices

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
The former Delbar Products headquarters on West Spruce Street in Perkasie.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO The former Delbar Products headquarters on West Spruce Street in Perkasie.

The headquarters of a defunct automotive lighting and mirrors manufacturer could be on its way to becoming an 80-unit upscale apartment development in downtown Perkasie.

 

Vacant and silent for a decade, except for sounds of graffiti artists, the former Delbar Products Inc. building at 601 W. Spruce St. is poised for development by Cassidy Projects of Ivyland. The Bucks County company is doing the project as 601 Spruce Street Investment Partners LLC.

“We’ve been trying to attract quality developers and quality people” to Perkasie, said Jim Ryder, Perkasie Borough Council president.

Ryder said the Delbar building is within a couple blocks of Perkasie’s thriving business district and plays into the borough’s overall economic vision. Delbar Products, which had manufacturing facilities in Tennessee and Mexico, was acquired in 2008 by Ficosa International in 2008 – which shortly thereafter closed the Spruce Street offices, which had been Delbar headquarters.

MODERN, URBAN SETTING

According to Stephen M. Barth, Perkasie economic development consultant, the building will be restored to its former architectural elements with large beams, timbers and exposed brick.

Open beams and timber trusses will create a modernized, urban setting, Barth said.

“The original part is from 1914. It’s about 230,000 square feet, and Mr. Cassidy specializes in repurposing old factory buildings,” Barth said of developer Stephen Cassidy, who was unavailable for comment. “He likes these buildings because they have a patina.”

HATBORO PROJECTS

Barth has worked before with Cassidy. The pair worked on two projects in Hatboro: Hatboro Lofts at 237 Jacksonville Road in the historic Stoveworks complex and Jacksonville Green at 301 Jacksonville Road, under construction.

While no cost estimates for the 230,000-square-foot Delbar project were released – which has not been named – Jacksonville Green was a roughly $20 million project, Barth said.

On April 2 during a Perkasie borough council meeting, Cassidy said apartment rents would range from $1,200 to $1,600 per month and include studio to two-bedroom units. He plans to build about 80 units, with parking.

TAX INCENTIVES

Perkasie Borough Council granted Cassidy’s Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act request at the April 2 meeting.

LERTA is a development incentive program which reduces property taxes on improvements on a project over 10 years. It was established in 1977 to incentivize developers to rehabilitate blighted or disadvantaged commercial, industrial or business properties.

Cassidy also must win LERTA approval from Pennridge School District, where his application is being considered, as well as from Bucks County.

The LERTA is all or nothing. All three taxing bodies must agree or it fails, Perkasie officials said.

HISTORIC REGISTER

Scott Bomboy, Perkasie councilman, said the Delbar site is on the National Register of Historic Places and therefore eligible for tax credits.

“There are huge incentives because of the improvements to the property and front-end tax credits,” he said.

Bomboy said there was a small portion of the building dating to 1907 and that the bulk of it dated to the 1940s.

“Twenty percent of the internal improvements can be claimed with tax credits over five years,” Bomboy said.

ENVIRONMENTAL MITIGATION

The property is being remediated for trichloroethylene, or TCE, solvent contamination, Barth said.

“We are working with the [state] Department of Environmental Protection for vapor barriers and remediation,” he said.

He said the project was not at risk because of the abatement that is occurring, and it would be served by public water and sewer utilities.

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