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East King St Project - will it increase or decrease property values?

The East King Street Project - will it increase or decrease your property value? The jury is out.

As the East King Street building is going up, those living close to the project are left wondering if it will increase or decrease their property value.  If it does well, for some it will surely increase.  But for some residents on East Broad Street, it's not likely.

Homeowners on East Broad Street (across the tracks from the project) who thought we were going to look at a very large wall are now wondering why we are staring at a parking garage.  A TWO-STORY parking garage which will have lights on 24/7 and a public view of our backyards.  It's so close that the construction workers standing on the building appear to be standing on top of our yard.  What was communicated to us and many neighbors during a meeting with the engineers/landscape architect, that took place in the alley, was that we would be looking at a large wall and maybe part of the courtyard - with no resident's windows facing our homes.  There was no mention of the parking garage.  And there was no clarity that the "underground" parking was not at all underground from our view, but rather the first floor of what will be a five story stucture - not four.

Living in a twin on the train tracks is one thing, but living in a twin on the train tracks behind a parking garage will destroy our property value.  At least the old warehouse was private.  With four children we personally can't afford to move and take a loss on this house, we've put too much of our own sweat into it as well.   We want to stay, we love Malvern borough, but now we are stuck and even though we are excited for the entire town with this project, it seems to be horrible for some of the families on East Broad Street financially, personally, and privately in our now public backyards.

The lights, even down lit and/or on sensors, will be on 24 hours a day.  Would you want to live 180 feet from the Paoli Hospital Parking Garage?  The lights are a concern, but even more than the lights we are concerned about the public view of our yard.  While some may not think that the public (strangers) will peer out of a parking garage into our yard, I disagree.  If I parked my car and heard the loud and infectious laughter of children playing I would certainly glance in that direction as I closed my door next to the window. Our children, and the 17+ other children who are elementary school age and younger on our street, play outside in yards a lot and they play loudly.  If we had an open backyard to neighbors we could at least get to know those neighbors.  But we can't possibily get to know the thousands of patrons and 290 renters (yes, it's now 100% renters) who will use the parking garage behind our yard.  As our children and our neighbors children swing on our swings, or run in our sprinkler, or play t-ball in the yard - strangers can now glance at them or watch them or look into our children's bedrooms at night when our four-year-old forgets to close his blinds.

Just look at the photos and you will understand our concern.  It's close, very close.

Not to mention the traffic that will cut through on our "No thru traffic" street when Bridge St backs up.  Making the walk to Rubino Park's playground on a street with no sidewalks even more unsafe.

The home we bought in 2005 in this small town with a private backyard on a "No Thru Traffic" street will be anything but this in 2013.  We may have to take that loss after all or ask the builder to do something to help conceal the parking garage windows.  Either way, the value of our home and our neighbors homes are not going up any time soon.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim Knowles December 12, 2012 at 11:02 PM
I'm sure this has been gone over a millions times, but why the need for more apartments?
John Q Public December 13, 2012 at 04:36 AM
You've been pwn'd. Malvern is now the Main Line's Section 8.
Kristin Thomas December 13, 2012 at 04:57 AM
Noooo, I disagree, We love Malvern. There are lots of awesome things happening here - hardly section 8. And we support this project overall, but are just disappointed with our view of it as home owners. But your comment was funny. It became all apartments instead of the initially proposed mix of condos and rentals after the market down turn. People stopped buying I guess??? I forget the developers explanation exactly. "The residential space will be “for rent only at this time,” Kahn said. “Financing for condominiums is tough,” he said, although there was a possibility that he could “convert and sell later.” The apartments will be mostly one- and two-bedroom arrangements for empty-nesters and young professionals as the targeted market. Amenities such as courtyard areas, a fitness center and meeting rooms are included in the plan, Kahn said." http://www.dailylocal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120318/news01/120319530&template=printart
Rich December 13, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Kristin - I'd start looking into planting some arborvitae if I were you. The right kind can get to 30+ feet tall, so that'll help with your privacy. They are not as expensive as trees. As evergreens they'll be there year round too.
Kristin Thomas December 13, 2012 at 01:44 PM
I like the way you think Rich and that's exactly what we are talking about with neighbors. Green giant arborvitae will help.
marion1 December 14, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Kristin- you have our sympathy on your backyard, Trying to get a mental picture of the final product, the long windows in the current photos- thats parking garage right? Could they put Glass Block in those windows that would light the interior but not allow a view out of the windows? Metal louvers would be better to block the light. But then you write about the apt. windows, those will be above the garage another 3 floors? Glass blk would not be acceptable to the renter. Arborvitae--they can't get tall enough for the upper floors. For tree screening of a monster, you would have had to plant them 20 years ago--and then when the train herbicide sprayer comes along, there goes the foliage. Your dedication to Malvern is wonderful --we hope Kahn himself will get involved and do everything he can to make this less awful.
Kristin Thomas December 14, 2012 at 03:39 PM
We are a mix of emotions. I go back forth by the hour - to stay or sell, stay or sell? Check out the latest photo I posted. This photo was taken minutes ago at 10:30 am in December. Notice the bottom wire of the top train electrical lines - that is where we estimate the final floor will reach, plus likely an addition 10-15 feet of roofline above that. We will not see the sun every morning until 10:30 am. The sun will not shine into the kids windows at 7 am to wake them, it will no longer warm our house in the morning, it will not appear until after 10 am! They cannot block the parking garage "openings." They are there for ventilation. The construction manager says they will have slates, but others have said they will remain open - we are hoping to get some clarity on Tuesday night. But yes, you are correct, there will be three more stories of apartment windows on top of the two stories of cement parking garage that you see in the photos now. We are downhill from this project so it's monsterous, ginormous, and intrusive from our view. There is a grass alley behind our house that we cleaned up and opened all by ourselves (it was a trash heap in 2005) as a right-of-way with about 45 feet of space between the fenceline and the tracks, but it needs to remain open. Even if we planted a few $1,000, 20 foot giant arborvitae right now, someone will still be overlooking our yard as their view of the world from their apartment window.
Jack December 14, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Kristin, as a Professional Realtor and a resident, my advice would be to watch what and where you post. The outside world now has access to these posts and that will surely impact your value. Keep it positive and work it out with Eli and or Shade Tree Commission, and for heaven sakes do not continue to post negative feedback about your own home. The sun is lower on the horizon this time of year anyway. You will have plenty of sune after the spring solstice:-) I think the fact that your home backs up to train tracks has more of impact on the value of your home than the project does. Stop overestimating the time and energy that people have to want to watch you and your children play in the backyard. People do not have this kind of luxury time in todays world. If they did, they would most likely be enjoying their own outside interests. Keep positive and stay put. We are going to be a great town.
Kristin Thomas December 14, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Thanks Jack, I am okay with posting in a public forum about the intrusive issues of this project and the negative affect it is having on our home, the value of our home, and our neighbors homes. Reading this post won't be as damaging as seeing it in person if we choose to sell. We can't hide it. We will loose 3 hours of sunlight in the morning - that is a big deal for us per the layout of our home. People may not want to watch us, at least I hope not, but they will also have no choice when they look out their window. Any privacy we once had is lost. If you have young children, I am sure you can understand. We are excited for town. The train tracks were here when we bought the home, but now a 5 story apartment building overlooks our yard as well - we'll call you when we're ready to sell.
Kristin Thomas December 14, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I also know many residents who live on the other side who think traffic and parking will decrease the value of their home and the happiness that they have living with their families on a quiet street in a small town.
Jack December 14, 2012 at 05:23 PM
All understood. I'm hoping that the outside world will start to view Malvern as a nice place to visit but not travel through during peak traffic times. Perhaps that will start to drive down "short cut" patterns. I still think you should stay put and see what the omlet looks like after they are finished breaking the eggs:-) We need people that want to live and raise a family here. That's what drives up property values along with our great schools. Thank you for thinking of me if you decide to sell, but I want you to stay put unless you have outgrown your home.
JerryS December 14, 2012 at 06:33 PM
You don't live on a farm. You live in a semi urban area. Get over it. Move on!
Kristin Thomas December 14, 2012 at 08:12 PM
LOL Are you raising young children in a home in which developers are building a five story building 180 feet from your back door with apartment windows in full view of the yards of 10 little children on the same half block? Didn't think so. Empathy is nice quality to have JerryS. Malvern was a small town. For those who might happen upon this public post when googling east broad street if our house is for sale this spring here are the positive aspects of our neighborhood: 2 blocks from the train, 2 blocks from the center of town, 1 block to a public park/playground, fantastic school district, a few minutes to the new playground at Greentree Park and all parks in town, 2 minutes from Wegmans and Target, soon to be accessible Chester Valley Trail, etc, etc, etc. Malvern is a great town, it's just no longer the small town we all bought into - from our downhill view of it anyway.
Pete Kennedy (Editor) December 14, 2012 at 09:56 PM
A comment was deleted because the user supplied an invalid email address.
Kristin Thomas December 14, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Thanks Pete. I read it unfortunately.
Danielle December 26, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I think since Mr. Kahn is a good Industrial and Business Park Builder. I believe (hopefully) that he has his best intentions for the Borough. The project was approved and it is now up to the Borough and Mr. Kahn to make sure it does not disrupt the "locals" ambiance. Thirty years ago growing up in Newtown Sq I looked at Malvern as an industrial pit with Victorian large homes converted into apts and rooming houses. Now it's down sized the multi occupancy in the homes ( by permit). We had an ugly ugly set up where he's building. No matter it's progress. We have not been as rural ( dear to my heart) for years. It's a hot spot between Corporate Parks on rt 29 and a thruway to Newtown Sq. Look we cannot stop redevelopment- if its for sale -it's for sale. If the Borough doesn't keep it's promise to look out for us- we vote for a new board. We need to PARTICIPATE AND SHOW UP for the meetings. I have my fingers crossed that traffic patterns will be watched and corrected if necessary. I pray most of the new residents will take the train so out of towners can come in and shop here. Look Wegmans and that whole Town Ctr was a big enhancement to our neighborhood. Remember what it looked like? Also admitting that I am married to a Contractor- NO ONE likes the time it takes and inconvenience for something to be built. We blame the construction guys but they have a job to do. We need to be patient and go to the meetings to make sure that things go smoother.
Joyce P. January 06, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Another solution is a window film that is easy to apply, which is "reflective" on the outside, so private, but totally transparent from the inside out. That might be an option. Arborvitae are inexpensive for a reason, they can split and are not as heatry as some trees. Bamboo is very invasive and impossible to get rid of.
Kristin Thomas January 11, 2013 at 07:45 PM
I added a new photo and will continue to add photos as construction evolves. Our homes on this street are 124 years old. They have seen the back of a Hires Rootbeer Factory and warehouse/industrial space for most of their existence. It will be nice to have actual residents as neighbors in a nice looking, new building - walking distance to the shops and restaurants. The fact that our privacy is forever gone will take some getting used to. The 24/7 lights in the parking garage and the impact of now living in a twin, on the tracks, behind a parking garage are our main concerns at the moment. Unless some sort of slates on the garage windows block the illumination or screening is provided I am certain the value of our homes will decrease even further - something the families on this street can't afford.
John January 23, 2013 at 05:38 AM
Town is growing and the project is getting closer and closer to being completed and now the rumor is the council is looking to close the police force again.. The best part, they are trying to hide it from us all over again. Just ask your councilman or an officer. Guess they did not get the hint last time. Get ready for round two....
Kristin Thomas January 23, 2013 at 03:54 PM
The final 5th floor is going up today. I added more photos to this post. We are wondering about any additional roof height. It is enormous. The East King Street Redevelopment is now called Eastside Flats. http://malvern.patch.com/articles/eastside-flats-east-king-apartments-have-a-name
Kristin Thomas February 22, 2013 at 10:33 PM
I added two new photos if you are interested. A before photo if the warehouse and a photo from today - the structure of the new building is complete so we can really get a good idea of how tall and huge it is from our downhill view.
Carter Rosemond February 23, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Sure, the train tracks were always going to be an issue with selling a house. I lived a short distance away from tracks in Wayne, you get used to it. But now, from the most recent picture, all buyers are going to see is "no privacy" as a view of all the balconies and windows are staring back. Nevermind the garage. I don't think many people will be staring into a backyard from there. People will be walking to the street side, not looking out the back end. It's all the windows staring back and just the hugeness of the building right there. So I feel for you. I also wonder how much this will affect the traffic. 200 apartments equals, what 250 cars? At least. Yes, this was built near a train station, thinking that most of these people will be rail commuters. I don't think so, not with Vanguard and the Great Valley Corporate Center so close along with the whole Swedesford corridor all the way to King of Prussia. These means, I'm betting, at least 250 people are going to be driving to/from work. Rush hour through Malvern isn't great right now. I guess I won't ever be driving through Malvern Borough after all is completed. It's also just going to increase the traffic on all the back roads. There are enough speeders as it is cutting through our neighborhoods.
K. Lee February 23, 2013 at 07:56 PM
The problem with any developer is that they take up every inch of space. By the time they have the building up, there is no room left at the set backs for trees to be planted as a barrier. My Mom, once a Malvern resident, now lives off Strasburg Road in East Goshen. The old Ground Round was torn down and a bank with parking garage and office structure was put there. The lights from the parking garage are on 24/7 and it's a nightmare. They promised landscaping to block the light from the home on the street, but I can tell you from experience, it is completely insufficient. They cannot plant full grown 30 year old trees. So unless you can wait 30 years to sleep...the residents of Broad Street will have to by Black Out shades or get a job at Third-Shift.
Kristin Thomas February 23, 2013 at 08:32 PM
It's very intrusive indeed. The building is 55 feet tall. But we are downhill about 15-20 feet, so it literally looks like it is 70+ feet tall from our view and the parking is not at all underground as discussed in many meetings. The parking is hillside and completely exposed on our side of the building. Nothing will grow fast enough to help much. If we could get some mature leeland cypress and green giant arborvitae it could potentially help shield the garage levels at least. The two leeland cypress that you see along our back fence in the photos are about 15 feet tall at the moment and do very little for screening. We feel like we, the residents on the other side of the tracks, were not considered enough when they were planing. It is what it is. We need to work around it and get used to it or attempt to sell when it's complete.
BillJ February 23, 2013 at 08:54 PM
This project will go down as killing the borough, and I don't even live in it. I am just down the road in East Whiteland though. I imagine my new Wawa will be the one on 30 when this is all said and done. The the OP. I understand your concerns for your family. Try not to live in fear though.
B Kirker February 24, 2013 at 05:16 AM
I'm excited about it ...but what retail is going in there? Seems like the retail in malvern kinda struggles now a bit...and the building is a bit imposing . I've heard rumor that the 2 bedrooms are like 2300 a month..no granite and stainless in a 700 square ft apt is worth 2300. I moved to the Boro 7 years ago and was happy to move to Mayberry this project seems to big rant over
Kristin Thomas February 24, 2013 at 05:23 AM
The only confirmed business is Kimberton Whole Foods, which we are excited about.
Kristin Thomas March 20, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Check out the photo I just posted of "the city" as my kids call it.
Tom Fox May 31, 2013 at 11:53 AM
Looked at Trader Joe's web site. They list their upcoming locations. Malvern, PA is not one of them. Is that store out the window too?
Kristin Thomas May 31, 2013 at 12:19 PM
Kimberton Whole Foods is moving in. They will be at the far east end, not behind us. We are excited for this market of local whole foods. They are doing hard hat tours now. Check out the Eastside Flats facebook page. We are getting used to the view from our particular property in the summer - winter is still a bit shocking. Our neighbors really need trees. The construction workers had a great view of 4 boys slip and sliding yesterday.

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