Last July, the Bucks County Herald wrote the following article, which discussed the $2.3 million project to revitalize downtown Perkasie:
Groundbreaking signals start of rebirth for Perkasie’s downtown
Written July 3, 2015 by Joe Ferry
Almost 27 years to the day that a fire destroyed most of Perkasie’s quaint downtown, officials last week broke ground on a $2.3 million project they hope will lead to its re-birth.
“It’s like the Phoenix rising from the ashes,” said Stephen Barth, the borough’s Director of Economic Development.
Located on a vacant lot at 7th and Market streets, The American House at Perkasie will feature just under 6,000-square feet of retail space on the first floor and a total of 10 apartments on the second and third floors. It will look and feel like the 19th century building that was destroyed by the infamous blaze on a hot, windy June day in 1988.
“The developers have designed a new building that honors the small town Victorian feel of the community,” said borough council President Jim Ryder.
Developer Peter Stampfl said a meeting with Barth early in the process convinced him and partner Joe Price about the importance of history and the architectural landmarks in the borough. It inspired them to find ways to honor the look of the original American House in their new building, including a distinctive turret seen frequently in the borough’s Victorian architecture.
“Everyone we have worked with here in Perkasie has truly had their arms open,” said Stampfl.
Matt Aigeldinger, chairman of the borough council’s Economic Development Committee, called it “a very exciting time” for borough residents and business owners. He said council has been pro-active in making the borough an attractive destination for developers by lowering permit fees and working collaboratively on plans.
“Hope is not a strategy,” Aigeldinger said. “For 20 some years, we hoped someone would develop this property and grow the spark created by the strong entrepreneurs who make their living in downtown Perkasie and who enrich our lives. For 20 years we hoped, and then we took action.”
Baeth said the 7th and Market project is the linchpin of the downtown revitalization. Eventually, he hopes the entire town center will be developed.
“This is a very rare event that you get to rebuild your downtown, so I hope you realize how lucky you are,” Barth said.
Soon, The American House at Perkasie will be joined by another smaller building on an adjacent property. Developers Tom Skiffington and Dan Soliday said they will break ground on an as yet unnamed project that calls for a three-story building about 2,000-square feet of retail space and six apartments.
Those two projects are among several other commercial development possibilities, including the former Delbar property and the former Perkasie Regional Authority property on 5th Street.