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New to the Suburbs Near Philadelphia: Thousands of Upscale Apartments

Philadelphia suburbs are competing in the regional real estate market by adding thousands of apartments and other amenities traditionally found in more urban settings.
January 8, 2017, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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An article Caitlin McCabe discusses the changes coming to the suburbs outside of Philadelphia: it's beginning to look a lot more urban in the suburbs.

For decades, small suburban towns epitomized the American Dream. Built on the fortunes of manufacturing or education and other service industries, places such as Phoenixville and West Chester, among others, offered lower- and middle-income people the chance to buy modest homes, find decent jobs, and settle into stability away from the city.

Now, many of these communities are rapidly revitalizing. Old manufacturing sites and undeveloped acres have been transformed into thousands of new apartments outfitted with amenities galore, with rents that some towns have never seen before. 

McCabe reports that 7,000 new apartment units are in the development pipelines in Phoenixville, Upper Merion, Lower Merion, and West Chester. Michael Perrone, director of the West Chester Building Planning and Zoning Department, is quoted in the article describing the changes in his city: "It’s almost like the reverse phenomenon of the city 10 years ago, when millennials wanted to move into the city. Now, it’s happening in the suburbs."

After surveying the apartment development scene in these communities, McCabe turns the attention to concerns about gentrification and affordability, noting concerns about some local stakeholders about an ongoing lack of affordable housing as the new rental units come online.

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Published on Friday, January 6, 2017 in The Philadelphia Inquirer
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