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Crisis? What Crisis?

The good news: Homes continue to change hands at a steady clip in our area. The bad: It’s a tough sell out there.
By Tara Behan

There are two ways to look at the current Main Line real estate market. Optimists breathe a sigh of relief that conditions in our area don’t mirror those in places like Nevada and California. They can certainly find solace in the fact that Pennsylvania had just 4,000 properties in foreclosure last October, as opposed to Florida’s more than 54,000. Local real estate agents offer assurances that if a house is priced right and in good condition, it will sell.

Still, pessimists have plenty of reasons to be, well, pessimistic. Without a doubt, the local market has softened. In Montgomery, Bucks and Chester counties, 20 percent fewer homes sold in 2008 than the year prior—and it seems sellers are as cautious as buyers, slowing the pace of real estate transactions across the board.

For her part, realtor Carol Ogelsby is eagerly anticipating the spring season (February-July). “It always tends to be the best time of the year because we have a lot of out-of-towners looking to buy,” says Ogelsby, who’s worked out of the Rosemont Prudential Fox & Roach office for the past 12 years. “These buyers can be at any price point, but a lot of them are high-end.”

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Aging Gracefully

Pohlig Builders targets the graying boomer generation with the much-anticipated Athertyn at Haverford Reserve.
By Tara Behan

Ten years ago, brothers Todd and Don Pohlig were hard at work building brand-new Main Line neighborhoods one $1 million-plus home at a time. They were involved in the creation of such premier communities as Fenimore in Gladwyne, Boxwood in Rosemont, Winfield in Devon, Brooke Farm in St. Davids and Harriton Farm in Bryn Mawr.

Back then, Pohlig Builders was fashioning dream homes; whatever custom touches buyers wanted, they got.

Today, many of those same buyers have new dreams, and the Pohligs—baby boomers themselves—are again building for their generation. Their current project, Athertyn at Haverford Reserve, is a 55-plus community set on what was once the grounds of Haverford State Hospital. As they debated whether to undertake the project, one telling statistic reassured the Pohligs: By 2010, more than 50 percent of all Main Line households will be headed by someone 50 or older.

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A New Mix in Malvern

By Tara Behan

The sign at the corner of Routes 29 and 202 in Malvern has been there for more than a year. It informs passing motorists that the barren expanse of land on which it stands will soon be home to Wegmans. And everyone knows that when Wegmans arrives, good things follow. That’s exactly what high-profile Main Line developer Brian O’Neill is anticipating for his latest venture, Uptown Worthington, which is scheduled for completion in spring 2010.

Situated on the site of the former Worthington Steel Factory, the 100-acre “live, work and play” community “will be the greatest shopping venue the Main Line has ever seen,” says O’Neill.

Along with more than 50 stores, the community will have 15 restaurants. O’Neill also has secured a commitment from Muvico, a luxury movie theater chain that offers childcare, a restaurant and café, valet parking, and more. Uptown Worthington also will be home to the world headquarters of both VWR International and Turner Asset Management.

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