Riverview Landing at Valley Forge
The site is located on a brownfield of a former industrial complex adjacent to the Schuylkill River. Redevelopment involved several challenges of environmental clearances, clean up and entitlements, all of which were successfully resolved including an Act II Brownsfield Redevelopment Clearance. Lubin Studios, one of the United States first historic silent film studio was renovated and preserved on the site as part of an office campus. Development occurred over two phases, which included 310 apartments during the first phase of construction and 388 during the second. Apartments range from 754 to over 1300 SF in one and two bedroom units, and are spread across a cluster of four and five-story buildings. Amenities include a fitness center, swimming pool and sundeck, clubroom, and cyber café with beautiful river views including an extensive waking/biking/hiking riverfront promenade that connect offsite to the nearby Valley Forge park.
Out of site
Complex's 'awesome location' provides Schuylkill River views
The Times Herald, September 10, 2004
By late October, 60 apartments at the Riverview Landing at Valley Forge are expected to be ready for occupancy.
The first four-story building in the 310-unit Phase I of the apartment complex, located on the Schuylkill River, will also contain three furnished sample apartments, Riverview Landing development principal Leonard Poncia said.
Leasing for the complex, located off Valley Forge Road at the end of Trooper Road, started in late August. More than 40 prospective tenants visited over the Labor Day weekend, Poncia said.
The 65-acre site, the former Betzwood Industrial Park, was purchased by the complex's developer, the O'Neill Properties Group of Upper Merion, in 2001. Remediation work began last year. More than a dozen buildings were demolished, but five buildings that comprised the Lubin Film Studio from 1912 to 1917 were preserved and restored.
The studio, which was started by Sigmund "Pop" Lubin, produced silent film westerns and dramas.
Construction on the 310 apartments in six buildings is slated to be complete by March 2005. The 5,000-square-foot clubhouse, with an outdoor pool, a hot tub, a fitness center and wireless Internet connections, will be completed in early November.
"We know this is a great location," Poncia said, "A lot of people travel up Route 422 every day to their homes. This is an awesome location."
The complex borders the Schuylkill River Trail, which runs next to the Schuylkill from Philadelphia to Valley Forge National Historical Park in Upper Merion.
Rentals will range from $1,240 a month for a one-bedroom apartment with one bath to $1,930 a month for a two-bedroom, two-bath unit. Garage parking underneath each building is an additional $65 per month. The rental prices vary depending on location, floor level and view.
Construction on a second phase of 292 apartments will begin in early 2005 and be completed by mid-2006.
A 35-acre section of open space will be filled with a mix of retail buildings, townhouses and condominium units, Poncia said.
O'Neill Properties is also constructing residential units at River Walk at Millennium in Conshohocken, the 108-unit Corinthian in Lower Merion and the 58-unit Carnegie Abbey in Portsmouth, RI.
O'Neill Properties gives new life to movie studio
The Times Herald, April 19, 2005
By Keith Phucas
Brian O'Neill, the developer who transformed Conshohocken's blighted post-industrial landscape along the Schuylkill River nearly two decades ago, is building on a former silent-era movie studio property with a scenic view of the river in West Norriton.
O'Neill Properties Group's newest local development project, Riverview at Valley Forge, is an impressive self-contained mix of residential, commercial and recreational uses across the river from Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Like O'Neill's other signature projects, Riverview is the former site of several industrial operations - including the film industry.
In 1912, Sigmund Lubin purchased the 500-acre property that was home to his Lubin Film Co. studios until 1923.
Five of the Lubin studio's stone buildings were preserved and restored by O'Neill.
O'Neill Properties plans to construct about 699 apartments, 1,470 condominiums and townhouses, and lease 57,000 square feet of Class A office space on the 63-acre property.
The former studio buildings offer loft-style industrial design with vaulted ceilings, oversized beams and exposed masonry. The buildings' expansive, working windows provide exceptional natural sunlight.
Riverview will soon lease the artist lofts, according to Leonard Poncia, an O'Neill Properties vice president.
"It's a throwback to when people lived above their businesses," Poncia said.
Architects designed Riverview's commercial center so it is surrounded by a pedestrian-only square, or "piazza."
This spring, the developer plans to host an open house similar to one held last October that attracted about 120 real estate brokers and agents to the site.
The buildings include the 20,719-square-foot Lubin, Which has a 25-foot-tall ceiling and aluminum-clad wood windows.
The Federal building, which contains 17,000 square feet of space, connects to the Lubin building through a restored stairwell and enclosed connector structure.
Last fall, an Upper Merion European spa owner showed interest in the historic 2,400-square-foot Junction building, according to Times Herald reports.
A dozen software companies, six media firms and two sports equipment companies toured the complex as well, according to Times Herald reports. The sporting goods companies could service cyclists, joggers and pedestrians who use the Schuylkill Valley Trail that runs along the river past Valley Forge and Riverview.
Office space is expected to lease for $22.50 per square foot, company officials said.
The luxury apartments
The center's luxury apartment community, called Riverview Landing at Valley Forge, will have over 40 miles of tree-lined biking and jogging trails that will connect with Valley Forge National Historical Park. Amenities are to include a fitness center, clubroom, wireless Internet cafe and a resort-style swimming pool with sundeck.
Riverview, which is accessible from Trooper Road near the park, hopes to attract young professionals and empty nesters to live in the upscale neighborhood. The community will exemplify what Poncia calls a "live, work and play" environment.
One novel feature of Riverview is parking. Instead of a typical expanse of white-lined black asphalt, the parking garages would be surrounded by apartments and hidden from view.
At a West Norriton Township Board of Commission meeting last July, O'Neill said parked cars wouldn't be visible from Route 422.
"If we had a sea of parking lots, it would look ugly," he said.
Because the site lies in a flood plain, the buildings will be elevated.
O'Neill said his company's Riverview plan leaves nothing to chance - not even trashcans. They'll all be the same size and color.
"We detail everything now," he said.
By 2007, Betzwood Bridge is expected to be rebuilt, and there are plans to redesign and reconstruct the Route 422-Trooper Road interchange to enable vastly improved access to Riverview.
Life on the Schuylkill
O'Neill Properties finding success along the river
The Times Herald, April 21, 2005
By Dante DelVecchio
O'Neill Properties Group has been busy breathing life into portions of the area where residents would not have tread.
The Upper Merion-based company is working on the second phase of its Riverview at Valley Forge project and the Millennium development in Conshohoken.
Leonard Poncia, senior vice president development principal, said both are examples of the company's mission to revitalize properties that could not be used otherwise because of dilapidated buildings or environmental obstacles.
"We find these places that become an eyesore and no one's happy with them," Poncia said. "It's a success story we all feel proud of because it's a success story we share with all the stakeholders."
The Riverview at Valley Forge development features more than 600 new luxury apartments seated amidst a 65-acre complex along the Schuylkill River near Route 422 and Trooper Road in West Norriton.
Adjacent to the residential space will be 52,000 square feet of Class A office space, located in the former Lubin Film Studios. O'Neill preserved and historically restored the five buildings that housed the studio started by Sigmund "Pop" Lubinm who produced silent films from 1912 to 1917.
Today the office space maintains the industrial look coupled with a modern feel.
The complex also features a business center with an Internet cafe, a pool and a fitness center for residents.
"We're literally building back a town," Poncia said.
The Riverwalk at Millennium development in Conshohoken will put another 375 apartment units in the borough. Also seated along the waterfront, the expansive development features one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The second phase of the project will begin sales of the condominium units, Poncia said.
In all of these projects, Poncia said, O'Neill works with local municipal leaders and residents to make the developments an amicable addition to the community.
Both Riverview and Millennium will also feature access to the Schuylkill River walking trail, so its users will be able to access the developments and so residents will have prime access to the river.
Conshohoken Borough Council President Vince Totaro said the developer worked diligently to ensure the projects built transition into the area as effortlessly as possible.
"(CEO Brian O'Neill) has always been a firm believer about wanting to be a part of the community," Totaro said.
Leonard Poncia, an O'Neill Properties vice president, left, and project manager Kevin Kyle are shown outside Lubin Film Co. Studios at Riverview Landing at Valley Forge in West Norriton.