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PERKASIE PIPES UP Bucks town launches revival that includes 300 new housing units and retail, office and manufacturing

Bucks County Soapstone Co. on West Walnut Street is an example of a downtown Perkasie business that renovated its storefront, adding planters to beauty the streetscape. - (Photo / Brian Pedersen)

In June in Perkasie, a three-story building started going up on a property vacant for nearly three decades following a devastating fire.

In June in Perkasie, a three-story building started going up on a property vacant for nearly three decades following a devastating fire.

It was a groundbreaking with significant meaning for residents, officials, executives and business owners. Perkasie, you see, may be a tiny borough – but it boasts big plans for economic development.

The $2.3 million American House at Perkasie represents the beginning of a surge in revitalization throughout the borough, including hundreds of new residential units, many of them upscale, and the potential to attract businesses using corporate jets at Pennridge Airport in Perkasie and neighboring East Rockhill Township.

Add a growing push to highlight and promote downtown businesses and attract a nighttime business cycle of entertainment and dining options, and the borough has the makings of a rejuvenation that could spark strong economic growth. It could even serve as a potential model for other smaller municipalities to follow.

“It’s going to be a lot of big steps in a very short period of time,” said Andrea Coaxum, borough manager, who said The American House project should be complete by the end of the year. The American House will include luxury apartments and retail space on the former site of the American House Hotel, a landmark hotel and restaurant destroyed by fire in 1988.

Next door, developers Tom Skiffington and Dan Solliday should break ground on a three-story building on the former site of a five-and-dime store, which will become retail space and luxury apartments, a growing attraction in Perkasie.

The project will include six residential units on the second and third floors and two retail spaces on the first floor, Coaxum said.

Another project underway involves a plan to renovate the old general store at 606 W. Chestnut St. next to Borough Hall. Workers have exposed the ceilings and gutted the building, which offers opportunities for adaptive reuse.

“What’s exciting is people are looking at all the properties in the downtown district,” said Steve Barth, economic development consultant for Perkasie. “We are trying to set a good example to other communities.

“We are creating adaptive reuses of our buildings. It spurred this accelerated interest.”

Brian Pedersen
Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108.

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