A couple from Flemington, N.J., are looking to transform a historic Catasauqua apartment building for seniors into a rejuvenated residential property.
This month, Al and Kertoria Berry, trading as Senan Investments LLC, bought the apartment complex, built in 1850, for $750,000, according to Lehigh County assessment records. The property, Silver Manor for Adult Living at 2 Front St., has 23 units.
Berry said he plans to invest $50,000 to $100,000 into updating the interior and exterior at Front and Race streets. It will remain a senior living facility.
He said he plans to upgrade the rooms as well as the commercial kitchen area and the common living area downstairs, which could be used for gatherings. Also, a fireplace in the basement could be rejuvenated so that space could be used for meetings.
He is looking for designers to help him plan the upgrades and is looking forward to working with the borough.
“The Lehigh Valley is growing, and we thought it would be a good investment long-term,” Berry said.
Fifteen units are occupied and rented to people 55 and older.
Senan Investments is looking at expanding its holdings and investing in the Lehigh Valley.
“We are in the process of getting two more properties in the area,” Berry said.
He sees further potential for growth as a result of the FedEx distribution hub under construction in nearby Allen Township.
“We believe with all the businesses coming into the Valley, some people might want a second place to live,” Berry said.
He sees the property as one where seniors could rent their apartments long-term.
Berry obtained financing from Lehigh Financial Group LLC of Allentown, a commercial brokerage firm that helps investors find lenders.
“We helped arrange the financing by putting it with the right lender,” said Jeff Barber, president of Lehigh Financial Group. “We have a lot of real estate investors from outside the area. The scope of lenders is very narrow for investors coming in from the outside.”
Barber said he found a lender in Jim Thorpe Neighborhood Bank, which was eager to finance the project.
Often, banks outside Lehigh and Northampton counties will finance projects in this region.
“There are banks from outside that love the Lehigh Valley,” Barber said. “They realize we have a very stable market.”