An Asbury, N.J.-based developer expects to break ground this summer on a multifamily rental project at the Chalfont train station in Bucks County, the latest such property in the company's portfolio of transit-oriented developments.
The two-acre Station at Chalfont site is the location of an institution that once housed people with brain injuries, an older facility that developer J.G. Petrucci Co. plans to raze to make way for 68 rental units.
The architect for the firm's residential projects is Minno & Wasko, based in Lambertville, N.J.
J.G. Petrucci already has developed the Station at Manayunk, a 149-unit apartment community in Northwest Philadelphia, with Alliance Residential Co. managing the rentals.
The Station at Manayunk is near SEPTA's Ivy Ridge Regional Rail station.
"We noticed the station was packed, and the property backed right up to the train platform, which is perfect for a transit-oriented development site," said Greg Rogerson, a principal of J.G. Petrucci.
Rents at the Station at Manayunk range from $1,447 to $1,537 a month for one bedroom and $1,777 to $1,887 for two bedrooms.
J.G. Petrucci, which also has offices in Bethlehem, is a privately held development company that initially focused on acquisition of commercial, industrial, educational, multifamily, and health-care-related properties.
Now, Rogerson said, the firm is adding more multifamily developments, particularly rehabilitations of industrial spaces near train stations.
"We evaluated the Manayunk site and saw it as a three- to four-story site, a multifamily high-end rentals project," Rogerson said.
J.G. Petrucci acquired that property in 2012 for about $40 million from a North Jersey developer that had abandoned the project.
The company amended the outstanding approvals, which had been in place since the mid-2000s for an eight-story project, and started building with $2.5 million in financing from Webster Bank.
The company's business model is to build and own, with a mix of self-managing and contracting-out to third parties to manage the properties.
"We are our own general contractor when we build, and we then continue to own all our projects," Rogerson added.
"We built every one we own, which is about 1,000 units in six different places, mostly around train stations," he said. "We've never sold any of our multifamily projects."
J.G. Petrucci also built and owns the multifamily residential projects the Station at Bucks County in Warminster and the Station at Lyndhurst and the Station at Maplewood, both in North Jersey.
A native of Far Hills, N.J., James Petrucci founded the company in 1987. After graduating from Princeton in 1986, he worked for a year with a developer, then went out on his own.
Rogerson, a family friend of Petrucci's, joined the company in 1995. An Upper Makefield native, Rogerson graduated from Temple Law School and worked his way up to partner at the firm.
J.G. Petrucci's initial work was almost 100 percent projects on industrial sites for commercial clients, but about eight years ago, the firm branched out into multifamily residential properties.
"Often, the sites for multifamily projects are on an obsolete industrial property near a train station," Rogerson said.
"We see a higher and better purpose. In eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, there's a real need for high-quality housing at train stations. So we targeted those to redevelop them," he said.
J.G. Petrucci began redeveloping such locations as apartment projects when the financial crisis pushed real estate into decline.
"There's been a big move into rentals, and there's a need in our part of the country for a high-end rental product, which had been neglected for three or four decades," Rogerson said.
"As a country, we were building for the 'for sale' market, but demographics are changing. Younger people can't commit to a home because they're moving around a lot for business. Retirees don't want homeownership anymore, but they want to stay in their community. And the whole concept of suburban sprawl is less attractive," he added.
Chalfont is the next project on the boards.
The second phase of the Station at Bucks County in Warminster will likely break ground in the fall, he said.