Developers hope to turn Bala Cynwyd into trendy ‘NoBA.’ Can City Avenue follow?
PHILLY INQUIRER- by Erin McCarthy,
In the works for several years, these efforts play into larger goals of the City Avenue Special Services District. Officials with the district have been working to reinvigorate the congested, three-mile stretch that straddles Philadelphia and Lower Merion, a strip that often goes by the misnomer “City Line,” especially in Delaware County, said Terrence Foley, the district’s President and CEO.
Foley said he has seen positive signs, however. The corridor has gotten younger in recent years, he said, with more millennials moving into apartment buildings such as the revamped Presidential City and the Mansion at Bala.
“A lot of young people would like to be in Center City or University City, but the rents are too high,” said Foley, noting that City Avenue dwellers can drive to the city in about 15 minutes. While apartments can still be expensive closer to the suburbs (rents at the Presidential are more than $3,000 for some two- and three-bedroom units), he said residents often get more for their money: more space, easier parking, and plusher amenities.
The district has been working to make the area even more attractive, Foley said, with a focus on bringing in a wider variety of businesses, making it more pedestrian-friendly, and decreasing road congestion, thanks in part to real-time traffic-flow-improvement technology.
“Our success is critical to the financial well-being of taxpayers on both sides of City Avenue,” he said.