Shovels hit the dirt June 25th at the corner of 7th and Market in Perkasie at 5:30pm commemorating stage 1 of the town’s revitalization plan.
The first of many new buildings to rise as a result of Perkasie’s new economic development plan, The American House at Perkasie, will grace the center of town in memory of the building that was lost in the great fire of 1988. It will house ten high-end apartments with an elevator as well as approximately 5,800 sq. ft. of retail space on the first level.
“The developers have designed a new building that honors the small town Victorian feel of the community,” Jim Ryder, Council President, said, “This is a historic moment in Perkasie’s revitalization as we break ground in the downtown.”
reAlliance Real Estate Development, the architectural and planning firm working on the building, is dedicated to combining new design with the legacy of Perkasie to create a town center that thrives with residents, consumers and happy community members.
“reAlliance is proud to play a part in the Perkasie Town Center revitalization,” said Peter Stampfl of reAlliance. “American House at Perkasie pays homage to the turn of Century building vernacular and maintains the name carried by the prior structure.”
So what happened to the original building? Many long-time residents will never forget.
“The Great Fire of 1988 completely changed the landscape of this town,” stated Jim Purcell, Perkasie Borough Council Vice-President. “It started near the railroad tracks behind the old lumber retail building owned by Shelly & Sons, Inc. It was engulfed in flames and jumped across 7th Street to The American House Hotel and Lesher’s 5 & Dime, leaving them in a twisted pile of metal.”
The lumber building was never rebuilt by Shelly’s. Instead, the property sat empty until 1997 when plans were submitted and approved to build the office complex that stands today, known at the Remax 440 building, which houses the district court office, and CPA Daniel Soliday, and others.
“Borough business owners and residents quickly formed the Perkasie Town Improvement Association to help organize the efforts to rebuild the downtown,” said Purcell. “The process started immediately to keep the momentum going. From the sidewalks, to the lighting, to the trees, the town started to take shape again. The entire infrastructure had to be rebuilt, including the water and sewer lines. There wasn’t enough water to fight the fire, so the infrastructure was rebuilt by the Borough to provide better service going forward.”
Through all of these efforts, this corner sat vacant. And now on the day before the 27th anniversary of the Great Fire, forward movement on restoring this corner of downtown is finally being made. The groundbreaking ceremony will mark the start of construction.
“About ten years ago, the previous owners of the site started the land development process,” said Stephen Barth, the Borough’s Economic Development Director. “They never proceeded with construction at that time. But the outlook is better today. This Borough Council has taken very visible and proactive steps to promote economic development in Perkasie, which is why the project is breaking ground today.”
The new building pays respect to the previous structure, showcasing a beautiful turret and standing a stately three floors high.
“We have enjoyed working with the Borough Council, staff & consultants, County Agencies, local business associations, and Perkasie Borough residents to bring American House at Perkasie to fruition,” said Stampfl. “The commencement of construction in June 2015 marks an important milestone in reAlliances goals. We look forward to assisting in the continued success for Perkasie Borough, its residents, and Bucks County.”
Photos below show two historical images of the old building and the concept.
The American House circa 1900:
The American House circa 1960:
The American House at Perkasie opening late 2015: