Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Ground broken for East Norriton luxury apartments

By Gary Puleo, The Times Herald
The mixed-used dynamics of Bentwood Executive Campus will get a sizable upgrade when The Residences at Bentwood debuts next spring.

Tornetta Realty has owned the property at 201 E. Germantown Pike near the Plymouth Meeting border since the early 1970s, when the term “mixed use” was as unfamiliar to folks as the words “social media.”

While the site has been anchored by a hotel (currently Hyatt House) for 18 years, the time has come for some intensive expansion into amenity-rich housing on the 25 acre-plus property, noted Brett Altman of Altman Management Company, which is collaborating with Tornetta on the project.

At a groundbreaking ceremony held on Thursday for the five-story building that will house 261 luxury apartments, a resort-style spa and fitness center, Altman noted privately that research indicated the market is ready for The Residences at Bentwood.
“We think there is a pocket here that will support what we have in mind,” he said. “We have a strong corridor that includes Einstein (Montgomery) and the exchange of the turnpike and 476, which includes Plymouth Meeting Mall and the office buildings. There is workforce housing along the corridor that is well served, but nothing at the next level. The quality of our product will rival what’s going on in King of Prussia or anywhere.”

Jay Tornetta, President of Tornetta Realty and Valley Forge Properties, who attended Thursday’s ceremony, along with East Norriton Township Board of Supervisors Chairman Dennis DeSanto, noted that “Altman and Tornetta are both committed to long-term investments, high quality and maintaining family-run cultures. We also share a vision for quality and creating a new lifestyle option for both legacy residents and new households moving to Montgomery County, so it is a great opportunity to work together.”

With financial backing from Bryn Mawr Trust, the Tornetta-Altman alliance was a natural one for two iconic organizations, Altman allowed.

“Tornetta has had this ground forever and they decided they were better off doing a multi-family development instead of commercial, so they wanted to partner with someone who does this, and this is what we do. We run about 12,000 apartments in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. We’re a family business that started in 1948 and Tornetta started about the same time with what they’re doing. So we’re both multi-generational family-driven businesses.”

Working with the Altman Group on the luxury apartments are its affiliated companies Elon Development and general contracting firm Allied Construction Services, along with architectural firm Barton Partners, which created a structure described as a unique, serpentine-shaped structure that allows for common spaces.

“We always say all of our projects involved all four of our disciplines — land planning, architecture, interior design and landscape architecture. That’s the hallmark of our firm, and this project involves all of that,” said Bruce Adelsberger of Barton Partners.

An aesthetic highlight of The Residences will be the two courtyards, noted Barton project manager Laura Gamble.

“One courtyard will be very active, with a bocce court, pool deck, plantings all around, and outside will be more of a Zen garden that will be more of a quiet, tranquil place,” she explained.

Bob Bluth of Altman Management added: “Everything from the room layouts to the materials selection and even the color palette includes unique touches. Also, the amenities program is as extensive and thoughtful as a resort’s. The project will also feature a multi-tiered parking garage that will give residents private access to their corresponding apartment floor. We are eager to see the final product delivered.”

The first phase of The Residences at Bentwood is expected to be ready for occupancy in April, 2019, with the completion coming sometime in mid-summer.

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