Local Analysis-Norristown Borough


Norristown Borough

norristown-photoNorristown is located in southeastern Pennsylvania, approximately six-miles northwest of Philadelphia.  Totaling 3.519 square miles of land area, the municipality sits along the Schuylkill River. Norristown has four distinct neighborhoods: the West End, the East End, the North End, and the downtown.  It is bounded by West Norriton, East Norriton, and Plymouth Townships as well as Bridgeport Borough.

According to Wikipedia, Norristown was named the county seat in 1784 when Montgomery County was formed.  Norristown was incorporated as a borough in 1812 an subsequently enlarged in 1853.  At its height, Norristown was an industrial, retail, banking and government center.  Breweries, cigar factories, textile mills, icehouses, boundaries, rolling mills, and lumber yards provided ample employment for skilled laborers and artisans.  With the opening of new malls in nearby king of Prussia and Plymouth Meeting, the downtown declined in the decade after World War Two.  Industry soon followed, as many companies closed or relocated into new industrial parks throughout Montgomery County.  Efforts to revitalize and reshape itself as a 21st-century community have produced minimal results.

Norristown’s economy is based largely on institutions in the government, healthcare, legal and social services sectors.  The Montgomery County government is the municipality’s largest employer.  Other major employers with a considerable presence are the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, USM, US Roofing Corporation, Barton Partners Architects & Planners, Chandler Bats and the Norristown Area School District.

Norristown sits at the junction of several major roads in the Philadelphia region.  Main Street (also known as Ridge Pike) and Airy Street run east-west through the downtown eventually leading to interchanges for I-476 (the Blue Route) and the PA Turnpike (I-276).  US 202 is the major north-south route through the town, connecting it with other nearby county seats such as Doylestown and West Chester.

Norristown is the largest multi-modal transportation hub in Montgomery County.  Numerous rail lines, bus routes, multi-use trails and parking areas converge at the Norristown transportation Center.  The regional rail station at the Transportation Center is one of three on the Manayunk/Norristown line.  The other two are Main Street and Elm Street.

 

According to the 2010 US Census, the total population of Norristown Borough was 34,324 with 11,963 total households with a median household income of $42,296. In the year 2000 census, the total population of Norristown Borough was 31,282 with 12,028 total households with a median household income of $35,714 (15.56% less than the present income).

According to Fort Washington based developer, John Westrum, who started construction of his 157-unit Luxor at Sandy Street luxury apartment complex at the edge of the Montgomery County seat, “the world of the large towns is coming back.  Demographic shifts have been moving towards urbanization, and Norristown has long been overlooked.  (Although) Norristown doesn’t have the same economic viability as do other places, he says, it has all the major employment hubs within a five-to-10 min drive.”[1]

In conclusion, with major municipal institutions within walking distance and a good public transportation network, Norristown is  a great location for properties that can take advantage of these positive attributes and is making a comeback as a place to call home.

[1] Town by Town: Norristown Shows Promise”, Philly.com July 26th, 2015..