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Conshohocken: The suburb as boardroom, not bedroom, community

9/6/2014 | Real Estate Blog

While Philadelphia’s commercial real estate market is looking up, Conshohocken’s is about to be redefined. The town of 7,800 sits on the Schuylkill River, a short ride northwest of downtown Philly. Its days as a steel town are over, but everything that a commercial developer could want is there: the river, easy access to two interstates, commuter rail and, most importantly, land, a rare commodity in Philadelphia’s suburbs.

Conshohocken started its transition from steel mills to office complexes almost 30 years ago. The city and developers took it slowly at first and sat out the recession. With the recession solidly in the area’s rear view mirror, the pace is set to pick up: The next few years will see 1.25 million square feet of office space added to the market in four buildings.

The projects range between 260,000 square feet and 340,000 square feet. According to news sources and the developers’ websites, three of the buildings are slated for riverfront sites: the 10-story 400 West Elm, Seven Tower Bridge (14 stories) and Millennium IV (10+ stories). One Conshohocken (14 stories) will be part of a five-acre development closer to the center of town.

More remarkable than the number of stories and square feet of commercial space is the number of people expected to work in the buildings. One real estate broker put the number at 5,000.

The developers are banking on the majority of those workers being millennial’s. This is the generation that has turned the reverse commute on its head.

We’ll explain more next week.

Source: The New York Times, “Conshohocken, Pa., an Old Steel Town, Now an Office Hub,” Jon Hurdle, Sept. 2, 2014