NORRISTOWN- The development of 68 acres of the Norristown State Hospital highlighted the magnitude of big development projects in the works throughout the Municipality of Norristown.
Current and past members of Norristown Municipal Council, municipal officials and state lawmakers celebrated the future development of the Norristown State Hospital property Monday afternoon with the release this month of a Request for Proposals to repurpose this huge swath of former state-owned property.
After a conveyance plan and land planning study commissioned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2017 to analyze feasible future uses of the property, the almost 70 acres of land at the hospital was deeded to the Montgomery County Redevelopment Authority (RDA) on behalf of the Municipality in Nov. 2022. The RDA developed the RFP for this large-scale redevelopment project and will be open for submission through Summer 2023.
“This is a momentous day for Norristown. This is our chance to reposition ourselves in the regional marketplace,” said Council President Tom Lepera. “Something like this comes along the way and it gives us an opportunity to change the narrative in Norristown, so it’s a big deal.”
Lepera continued, “(Norristown State Hospital) has served the state and the community for generations and now it will serve the community in a totally different way.”
With the conveyance of a portion of the campus to the municipality, it opens up the land to be developed and add to the municipality’s tax base, which it could not do before as it was owned by the Commonwealth. Early figures presented at Monday’s event showed the potential for tens of millions in real state and other local taxes being collected for the municipality.
Municipal Administrator Crandall O. Jones and Council President Lepera complimented State Rep. Matt Bradford and State Sen. Amanda Cappelletti for their hard work to get the land conveyed to the municipality.
“This isn’t a community with its hand out; It’s a community with its hand out to shake hands and create partners,” said Rep. Bradford. “This is only possible because of a promise made five years ago by Gov. Wolf that this day would come. It did not come soon enough for a community that needs rateables desperately. The plans and the vision ahead warms my heart.”
“I am proud to have been just a small part of helping to make this happen,” added Sen. Cappelletti. “I’m excited to see the vision comes to live that Norristown has for these lands and what it wants to do for its community.”
The RFP process for the state hospital grounds is the biggest and latest development for a number of other projects that have completed, or are in various stages of development in the Municipality.
Other highlighted projects in various stages of development include:
- Main and DeKalb street (northwest corner)- The municipality purchased a number of these vacant parcels in the downtown business district for approximately $2 million in 2019. Council approved Philadelphia-based MM Partners’ mixed-use proposal concept for the site in Sept. 2021. An agreement of sale to MM was approved in March 2022 for $2.5 million. Construction will start in 2023.;
- Kennedy Kenrick Catholic High School (Johnson Highway)- This former Catholic high school on over 12 acres of land in the municipality’s north end is slated for development of over 300 townhouses and apartments. Final land development approval is imminent. Construction set to start in 2023.;
- Luxor (Nexus) Luxury Apartments (900 Luxor Lane)- A $27 million investment completed in 2017, this is a trendy, new apartment building not far from the downtown business district.; and
- Montgomery County Justice Center (East Main Street)- The county’s $400+ million expansion of their courthouse campus will abut the redevelopment site at Main and DeKalb. This will drive new business and foot traffic in the downtown district. This project has been ongoing since Spring 2022.