Market Analysis of Housing Stock and Location of Real Estate & Development Data

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Organization:

Department of Planning and Municipal Development, Municipality of Norristown

City:

Norristown

State:

Pennsylvania

Organization Overview:

The Municipality of Norristown excels in providing housing and business development opportunities, public safety, recreational and cultural activities. The Municipality of Norristown is dedicated to ensuring a high quality of life for our residents through the implementation of meaningful policies and programs, the efficient and effective delivery of services, and a commitment to achieve a vision of prosperity for our vibrant, diverse, and historic community.

The Department of Planning and Development oversees all zoning and planning activities within the Municipality. Norristown is looking toward the future without forgetting its past. While the future cannot be predicted, it can be prepared for not only by planners, but by the community, as well. Norristown encourages civic engagement in the planning process to ensure residents have a say in planning decisions.

Project Name:

Market Analysis of Housing Stock and Location of Real Estate & Development Data
Project Type: 
Data Analysis; Policy Analysis

Project Overview:

In looking to the future, Norristown is working towards two major goals: increasing economic development throughout the Municipality and making home-ownership and quality housing stock more attainable for our residents. To achieve this, the Municipality needs to maintain a holistic understanding of the current housing landscape and trends, and remain committed to pursuing innovative approaches housing and economic growth through mixed-use development. This project will contribute to these goals through the completion of a comprehensive data analysis of housing and population trends in the Municipality, and through the development of optimal strategy for housing development for the planned redevelopment of the Norristown State Hospital.

The policy and data analysis portion of the project will leverage recent housing data from the County and population data from the Census Bureau to identify trends across the Municipality. In particular, the analysis will examine how population changes and the effects of COVID-19 have impacted neighborhoods and the housing/rental market within Norristown. The analysis will look to answer questions around what factors are driving renters and homebuyers throughout the Municipality.

The project should also include an analysis and summary of studies or projects conducted in similar communities across the country to complement the data analysis and inform best practices around planning and policy for the Municipality. These analyses will be used to inform a strategic plan for the redevelopment of the Norristown State Hospital area based on the needs of the neighborhood and the greatest impact on growth for the Municipality, at large. The plan should set forth recommendations for the kinds of mixed-use development that should be encouraged for this area of Norristown to provide for medium-density residential housing alongside a variety of commercial uses.


Additional Background:

More than any other municipality in Montgomery County, Norristown resembles a city. Its land use conforms to traditional urban patterns and shapes. The Municipality has an identifiable downtown business district, which is surrounded on three sides by residential neighborhoods that gradually decrease in density as one travels away from the downtown area.

The downtown has a Main Street, along which are street level storefronts built right to the sidewalk. Above the stores are either apartments or professional offices. Most of the buildings are three or four stories and share a common wall. The building density is very high, and the only open areas are the public square and vacant lots.

As the county seat, the downtown also contains the courthouse, whose dome is one of Norristown’s most recognizable landmarks. Redevelopment activity includes a transit center that serves as a hub for SEPTA’s buses, regional rail, and high-speed rail line, as well as a LEED certified green building for the State Department of Environmental Protection.

Adjacent to the downtown and radiating out in a semicircular pattern is a transitional neighborhood that contains both residential and commercial uses. It is roughly bounded on the west by Markley Street, on the east by Arch Street, and on the north by Oak Street. It largely consists of mid-19th century row houses of either two or three stories. Many have been converted to offices, commercial uses, or apartments. Former industrial buildings have been converted to office or commercial uses.

The remaining residential areas are located in the West End, East End, North End, and Norris Hills. While each of these areas has unique characteristics, such as the Victorian mansions along West Main Street or the 1910-1930 era period revival houses along DeKalb Street, all areas share the common characteristic of higher density toward the center of town and lower density along the outskirts.

Written report which includes:
(1) Data analysis of housing and population trends across Norristown with corresponding neighborhood analysis and mapping;
(2) Literature review of Norristown’s developmental history along with Main Street and Post-Industrial economic revitalization;
(3) Strategic plan with recommendations for the development of the Norristown State Hospital.

Fels Institute of Government

The Fels Institute of Government
3814 Walnut St. 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 898-7326
felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu