Source, Philadelphia Business Journal, Natalie Kostelni
While the retail portion of the Village of Valley Forge has been embraced by shoppers and diners, the next frontier at the mixed-use community is the various multifamily projects that have already started to open and are expected to accelerate in coming months as they get completed.
When Dennis Maloomian of Realen Properties, the master developer of the Village of Valley Forge, planned the project, he figured he needed just a small percentage of the 60,000 daily commuters to Upper Merion to give up driving to work and rent in an apartment there. Early indicators show that seems to be the case.
At build out, the Village at Valley Forge is expected to have upwards of 2,500 residential units of which more than half are in various stages of construction. Renters have been moving into some of the new developments that have already opened. One of the projects nearing completion that will test the depth of a specific segment of the market is Canvas, a 231-unit apartment complex catering to renters who are 55-years-old or older. It is being developed by Bozzuto Group and the Carlyle Group.
This is the first time Bozzuto has ventured into targeting a multifamily project for this age cohort, said Toby Bozzuto, president and CEO of the Greenbelt, Md., company that manages more than 70,000 apartments across several states and has several properties throughout the Philadelphia region. The developer is involved in four projects with a total of 1,182 residential units in King of Prussia alone.
Called Canvas, the 55-plus project will likely serve as a prototype and brand for future 55-plus projects though if some aspect needs tweaking, it will be addressed. Why call it Canvas? “Our idea is that not everyone is the same and every canvas is blank,” Bozzuto said. “You can literally paint your own canvas.”
What prompted Bozzuto to consider developing a new brand for an older renter stemmed from the fact that a good portion of the company’s tenants were either between 45 and 55 years old or in the over 55 cohort. As a result, the company conducted interviews and surveys to determine
what this group would want if an apartment community was designed just for them.
With Canvas, Bozzuto wanted to create an apartment brand that would appeal to the 55-plus renter that did not have any shades of an assisted-living community. There are no three meals a day or medical care here. It’s a community where people can live who want to downsize but remain as active as ever. What also Bozzuto found is that many people who will likely rent at Canvas will still be working. They want large enough units for all the “stuff” they’ve accumulated over a lifetime and have room for their grandchildren to visit too. These renters want to be with like-minded people, continue to be physically active, and desire to be in a nicely designed environment with lots of amenities.
“We designed it to appeal to a demographic that wants to live in a beautiful apartment building that caters to a lifestyle,” Bozzuto said. “They did not want to feel old because they aren’t old. The biggest theme was why would you move into a building that made you feel old or older than you think you are. We designed a product to respect their age.”
At Canvas, the interior design is refined and elegant much in the way when you go to a nice restaurant or hotel, everything you touch is quality, Bozzuto said. On the outside, much detail was paid to the landscaping and there’s a courtyard, infinity pool, outdoor cooking and dining areas.
“My father always said we’re in the business of building sanctuary,” Bozzuto said.
Bozzuto believes there will be strong demand from people already living in the King of Prussia area who want to downsize and be in the Village at Valley Forge or even the commuter working in the area. For a 748-square-foot unit, monthly rents start at $2,214 and an 1,138-square-foot unit starts at $3,074.
AT A GLANCE
• Multifamily projects at the Village of Valley Forge
• Indigo is 363-unit apartment complex separate but next to Canvas and owned by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., which is the financial partner at the Village of Valley Forge. It is open and well occupied;
• Hanover Valley Forge has 339-units and is open and well occupied;
• Hanover King of Prussia is a 339-unit companion tower to Hanover Valley Forge that has different architecture and is under construction;
• Woodfield is a 320-unit apartment complex now under construction just south of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia building;
• AVE by Korman Communities has 276 units and is nearing completion;
• Brownstones by Toll Brothers Inc. is a 132-unit stacked townhouse community of which several have sold and are occupied.