Two of Ambler’s most iconic properties are currently for sale, the Ambler Cabaret was listed back in April, and today 34 East Tavern (or The Wyndham, as I still like to call it) hit the market. The owners are asking $2,899,000 for the property, which includes the infamous historic building with full kitchen, bar and restaurant (second and third floors are currently shells), a liquor license, the adjacent parking lot, and the building that houses El Limon.
This property has had a troubled past; between several unsuccessful endeavors, a partial wall collapse, and other sordid events, it seems to carry a bit of a dark cloud. The MLS remarks state that the property is ideal for “a hands-on owner who can take this location to the next level,” I couldn’t agree more. Between the incredible architectural detail and the best patio in town, there is LOADS of potential here. I’ve heard it called the crown jewel of the town, I hope that someone will come along and truly make it shine.
|Lot Size||15,475 sqft|
Incredible property in the heart of Ambler, PA. Situated on an over 15,000 square foot lot, the property features the popular 34 East Tavern and two floors of shell space ready for a catering hall, office space or apartments. Located just 16 miles north of Philadelphia, Ambler is a revitalized town with a growing population base. The 34 East Tavern features a large kitchen, full liquor license and the only outdoor dining area within 5 miles. Live music and over 24 rotating tap handles make the location a destination for Philadelphia residents and a great spot for locals. The building has close to 18,000 sq. ft. of space, as well as a large parking lot and an additional, popular Mexican Restaurant that provides a n additional income for the monthly rent. This is a great property for an investor/hands-on owner who can take this location to the next level.
Property Type(s): Commercial
|Year Built||1893||Community||Ambler Boro|
|Total Parking||n/a||Walk Score ®||94|
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
August 4th marks Cornerstone’s 3rd Annual Narnia in the Park! Cornerstone Presbyterian Church returns to Pickering Field for five nights, as Rev. Dr. Carl R. Trueman reads C.S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The nightly readings, August 4-8, will take you back into the world of Edmond, Lucy and Prince Caspian as they are joined by Eustace in the search for seven lost Lords of Narnia. Each evening will also feature mini concerts of folk and classical music, light refreshments and activities for the kids. This is a wonderful event for the entire family, but don’t stop there, invite your neighbors and friends as well! Bring your own blankets and chairs and sit back as Pickering Field becomes Narnia. The icing on the cake… this event is FREE!!! Be sure to give Cornerstone a big thank you for their hard work in bringing this to the community, once again!
In the case of inclement weather, the event will take place at Cornerstone Church, 211 W. Bethlehem Pike, adjacent to the Sons of Italy building.
Unfortunately, the Ambler Cabaret was before my time. I’ve heard so many stories of great bands who played there and good times a plenty over the years. As I’m sure you know, the Cabaret closed over 20 years ago and has been out of commission since. It changed hands last summer for the bargain price of $151,250. That price was not only for the cabaret space, but included 5 apartments, as well as 5 additional office spaces on the second and third floors. The sale was private and rather shocking considering Ambler values, even despite the poor condition. As of today, the property has been listed for sale at a mere $1,150,000. Pretty quick potential return on an investment, I’d say. According to the MLS listing, “the 5 apartments are clean and very close to having a U&O.” There could be potential for the office spaces to be converted into additional apartments, and the cabaret space needs complete renovation. Hmmmm, will be interesting to see what happens…
|Home size||15,000 sq ft|
|Lot Size||7,072 sqft|
Ambler Borough Landmark building. Turn of the century built for the Ambler Gazette. Recently the building was known as the Ambler Cabaret. Cabaret has been closed and vacant for many years. This space is approx. 5k sq. ft. Remainder of first floor was recently used as a flower shop and is approx. 2k sq.ft. for a total of approx. 7k sq. ft.on 1st floor. Full basement below accessed from rear at ground level. Located on busy downtown Butler Pike. Great sized first floor for restaurant or many other retail uses. Three stories tall and has large pent roof over the sidewalk. Six entry doors on sidewalk. Two separate entries for the 2nd & 3rd floor apartments/offices. Three doors go into each retail space. One door goes into full basement by concrete steps. Loading door in the rear is accessed from the rear ally way. Upstairs features 5 apartments. All have separate electric including electric heating. Fire alarm system and door intercoms recently installed. Metal Fire escapes are at rear of building for each. Newer windows throughout. Also recently replaced roof with transferable warranty. Most apartments have updated kitchens, baths and have been painted. There are also 5 rooms last used as offices and meeting rooms. They could be converted to 3 or 4 more apartments. Building needs work. Rents could be in the 15k to 20k range per month depending on your rehab. Many possibilities for the investor or a user.
Property Type(s): Commercial
|Year Built||1921||Community||Ambler Boro|
|Total Parking||n/a||Walk Score ®||95|
|BuildingFeatures||DisplayWndw, FireAlarm, FireEscape, JanitService, KitchenFacil, Refrigerator, SecurityLgt, SecuritySys, Walk-InBox|
|BuildingOrBusiness||Apartmnt Bld, Commercial, Office, R&D Flex Space, Retail, VacantBldg|
|Exterior||Brick, Stucco, Vinyl Siding|
|ExteriorAmenities||HwyExposure, PubTransNear, RailSysExt|
|Floor||CarpetFlr, Tile/Brick, Vinyl, Wood|
|Utilities||CableTVAvail, ElectrcAvail, GasAvail, PhoneUtil, SewerAvail, WaterAvail|
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
If you are reading this, likely you are familiar with Ambler and have come to love its “old world charm” as I have. Boasting many turn of the century homes, some quite grand, new construction homes are few and far between in this town of ours. Typically, the 1950′s split levels are regarded as “new construction” by most Amblerites, which is why it is unusual that the majority of homes currently for sale in the borough have all been built within the past few years.
As you will see below*, four out of the nine available homes for sale, are 3-4 years old, with another two being only 11 and 25 years old (as stated earlier, they are still considered new by Ambler standards). The four newer homes are located in Station Square, the W.B. Homes community off of South Main Street. Station Square is comprised of 58, three story, luxury townhomes, averaging about 2,000 square feet. The community was a bit of an anomaly itself, as some would say that the odds were stacked against them when they broke ground. At the time, they would be among the most expensive homes for sale in the borough, situated next to the train tracks, and hitting the market during one of the worst real estate markets in U.S. history. They surprised many when they sold quickly, and then quickly sold out. Many naysayers made much ado about the proximity to the train, but that location was no accident. Station Square is a transit oriented development, and as such, it is built around the SEPTA line, using the regional rail as one of its main selling points. With many trying to reduce their carbon footprint, living here enables them to break the chains of the daily drive, particularly for those who work in the city.
Many people move to Ambler for the obvious reasons, proximity and walkability to a wonderful downtown, regional rail, great schools, and to be part of a tight knit community, most of them looking for a home that offers the craftsmanship and appeal of times past. These newer homes open Ambler up to a different pool of buyers, those who prefer more low maintenance, carefree living. New, high end apartments will soon be available in Ambler, as well. Times they are a changin’!
* If you cannot access the homes below, that means they’re no longer available for sale. Two of the six went under contract while writing this post, 115 Mary Ambler Way in 3 days and 210 E Mt Pleasant in 10 days! As you can see, it is a great time to sell your home in Ambler. If you are considering just that, I’d love to speak with you, send me a note. To see a complete list of homes currently for sale in the borough, visit this page. If you would like a broader view, here you can see all homes in the general Ambler 19002 area.
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2013 was full of memorable moments in Ambler; some ground breaking, exciting and new, others struck a chord of despair and broke hearts. I feel that the moments below are worth revisiting as we bring this year to a close.
Wissahickon School Board votes to close Mattison Avenue Elementary. This decision was a blow to the Borough and so many who fought tooth and nail to keep the school open. Closing its doors once and for all in June marked the end of an era in Ambler. MAE was the last school left in the Borough, and one unlike any other. If you are like me and like to look for the silver lining, I believe that the fight to keep Mattison Avenue open brought people together. They forged bonds as they fought for their kids and their community, it caused many to “wake up” and be more aware and engaged. Following the closure, Ambler Borough went on to purchase the building; it will be the future Ambler Borough Municipal Building.
Mayor Bud Wahl announces that he will not seek another term. After twelve years of service, we wish Bud farewell with great admiration and respect. He accomplished much during his time in office and is a true champion for Ambler!
Forest & Main celebrate their first birthday. This made my list because it was one epic party. Think frat party, but without the crappy beer and bad behavior. F&M is a wonderful addition to Ambler and people came out of the woodwork to show their support. Safe to say, it was a good time had by all.
Opening day of the Ambler Farmers’ Market. This market was a long time coming and Ambler was ready for it! I’m fairly certain that my eyes sprang a leak as I looked up Butler Avenue and saw droves of people making their way down to the market. People of all ages, some with strollers, some with dogs; all of them, ready to shop and spend time with their neighbors. Farmers offering fresh, local food in town, what a sight it was!
The Ambler Arts & Music Festival takes over town! This Friday and Saturday festival was an incredible collaboration between Ambler Main Street, Ambler Rotary, and Ambler Borough. People enjoyed art and music, and partied in town all weekend. Top notch local artists displayed their talent and exciting headline musicians preformed on a state of the art stage in the Ambler Savings Bank parking lot. The highlight was Saturday night when the parking lot and streets were turned into a dance party as the Trammps took the stage. People are still talking about it!
The old Ambler Cabaret changed hands. While this may not mean anything in the immediate future, it has to be (please!!!), a step in the right direction. The Cabaret has laid dormant since 1994, but in it’s day, it was home to tons of great acts, including the Hooters, Tommy Conwell, Merl Saunders, and many, many more. I’ve not heard of any plans yet, but the potential here is HUGE!
El Limon (finally) opens. While Ambler saw several new openings in 2013, this one was highly anticipated (at least by me). We have some incredible restaurants in town, but are short on fast, easy, affordable options, and it’s Mexican! With free margaritas!
The first Ambler Candidate Community Meeting was held. This non-partisan meeting was an opportunity for constituents to meet those up for election, listen to their “stump speeches” and ask relevant questions. The vast majority of the candidates attended and there were no political overtones. This will undoubtedly become a regular event during election season.
Bottom Dollar opens for business. This was long awaited for many in Ambler, after being without a grocery store for more than four years. There has been a lot of debate as to whether or not Bottom Dollar is the “right fit” for Ambler, regardless of your opinion, it is here and open for business.
Proposed development at St Mary’s Villa was announced. While this has clearly been in the works for some time, the news and plans became public knowledge in late November. Naturally, the news was met with mixed emotions. There are still serious hurtles the developers must cross before this project moves forward. I realize that St. Mary’s is not part of Ambler proper, but the outcome greatly affects the Borough.
The annual Christmas Parade. What can I say? I’m a sucker for this parade. This year didn’t feature anything out of the ordinary, but it is so small town, so Ambler, that it makes my list.
Last, but not least…
Throughout the year, several precious little ones were brought into the world, including this cutie spotted at the parade! Congrats to all of Ambler’s new parents, especially my peeps, Marty and Rachel!
What am I missing? Chime in and tell me below!
Most importantly, Happy New Year, Ambler!
Save the date, January 13-20th!!! Participating restaurants, menus and pricing will be released immediately after the new year begins! In the mean time, RSVP to the event on facebook to be entered to win an Ambler Restaurant Week gift certificate!
Much to my surprise, I learned from a colleague at work last week that St. Mary’s Villa (and all 45+ acres of it) is under contract to be sold to a developer. I imagine that this would be of interest to anyone living in our area, as St. Mary’s (formerly “Lindenwold” the estate of Dr. Mattison) has a rich history that contributed to making the town of Ambler what it is today.
The property has been in the hands of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and managed by them until this past April, when Public Health Management Corporation took over operations. Per a recent letter from Upper Dublin Ward 2 Commissioner, there is less than two years left on the lease with PHMC and pending an approved zoning amendment, the contract of sale will go through when the lease is up.
According to an article today in the Philadelphia Business Journal, the property is under agreement with Endeavor Property Group, Guidi Homes and the Goldenberg Group. PBJ reports that “the developers are proposing to construct a mix of carriage homes, townhouses, condominiums and senior independent living apartments. They also intend to restore an existing “castle,” two gate houses and portions of the property’s formal gardens.”
This will be a hot button issue to say the least, as there are many factors to consider. St. Mary’s is currently zoned Institutional and is tax exempt, so developing the property could potentially help ease the burden for Upper Dublin tax payers. Of course, keeping the integrity of the castle, outbuildings, grounds (including the lake and the angel) will also be of paramount concern.
The Upper Dublin Historical Commission is asking people to attend their next meeting on Monday, November 25th, 7:30PM at the Upper Dublin Township Building to discuss preservation concerns and the future of St. Mary’s Villa. They are asking that you please spread the word and invite anyone who you think may be interested in this issue.
Update: A letter was delivered to homes bordering St. Mary’s yesterday, Novemeber 21, from the developers “The Mattison Estate” inviting residents to a discussion surrounding the developers ideas for the property. The letter states that questions, comments and feedback are welcome, although the letter also states that the meeting will last just one hour, which seems highly unlikely. The meeting will be held Tuesday, December 3rd, 7:00PM, also at the Upper Dublin Township Building.
To say that politics is not my cup of tea is putting it mildly. It is a topic of conversation that I often stray from, as I tend to keep those opinions to myself. I struggle with the “small fish in a big sea” feeling when it comes to national elections, which is why I focused on learning about our local candidates this year. After deliberation, and learning that Ambler elections often come down to just a few votes, I feel compelled to share my thoughts with you.
For the first time in 12 years, Ambler will have a new mayor. For a small town like ours, this is huge. Mayor Bud Wahl has served Ambler very well, and while it will be sad to see him go, it is important to see that the person who takes his spot will also serve Ambler well. I believe that Frank DeRuosi is that person.
The mayor is essentially the face of Ambler, the person who represents our town, interacts with residents and borough council, working to move our town forward in the best possible way. Frank DeRuosi is the best person to do this job, and he is already more than halfway there.
As you may know, I spend a good amount of time volunteering in Ambler and attend every event possible. I notice who is there. I see Frank and his family at every Ambler event; shopping at the farmers’ market each Saturday, First Friday’s, the Car Show, Oktoberfest; you name it, he is there. Seeing Frank and his wife chat with the local farmers whom they have come to know at the market, it is clear to me that he is not there to be seen, but because he truly loves and supports our community. This is also evident in his fight to keep Mattison Avenue Elementary from closing. As a resident, teacher, and parent, he understood the vital role that this school played in our community and worked tirelessly with several committed Ambler residents in an effort to keep the school open. I admire the respect that Frank showed when he approached Mayor Wahl years ago, letting him know that he wanted to step up and serve Ambler, when Mayor Wahl was ready to step down. Since declaring his candidacy, Frank has held several public meetings at Caffe Maida, giving everyone a chance to speak with him, share their concerns and learn what he is all about. Those who have been supporting Frank all along have told me that there has never been a request for funds, only boots on the ground. I appreciate that he is not a “politician,” but a humble individual with a desire to give back and help our community grow.
For mayoral candidates in Ambler, the issues are clear, hence the platforms are similar. This made it easy for me to focus on the person. On that note, you may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned Frank’s party affiliation, and that is because I couldn’t care less. Personally, those are my feelings in any race (small town or not), but seeing beyond party lines is critical thinking for those in a borough of less than one square mile.
One last thing that I’d like to share is that I first met Frank and his family seven years ago. He probably does not remember this, but being a new real estate agent on my first open house, I do. I studied those names on my open house sign in sheet and put them to memory. For that reason, I recognized Frank’s name the next time I did an open house in Ambler. By the third time he and his family visited an Ambler open, I recognized them immediately. Each time I would greet them and he would tell me that they already lived in town and are were just looking because they love Ambler and like to see the different homes and architecture. I do open houses all over the area, Upper Dublin, Whitpain, Lower Gwynedd, but I’ve never seen the DeRuosi’s at any of those open houses. To you, this may be weird, but to me, this is fantastic. To be so intrigued by your town that your quest to learn more involves spending precious Sunday time viewing Ambler homes, warms my heart. Although I must admit, I didn’t see Frank at my last Ambler open house a few weeks ago, but I’ll give him a pass, as it is campaign season.
If you are uncertain about voting, please remember that voting is your right and a chance to make your voice heard. Don’t waste your opportunity to contribute to Ambler’s future, vote on Tuesday!
Ward 1: Wissahickon Fire Company, 245 Race Street
Ward 2: SAAC Center, 45 Forest Avenue
Ward 3: Calvary Methodist Church, 16 East Park Avenue
Election season is upon us and this year, without the shadow of a national election, we have the luxury of being able to focus on our local elections. For the first time in twelve years, Ambler will have a new mayor. There are five council seats up for election, as well as Borough Tax Collector and there is also an Ambler resident running for a seat on the Wissahickon School Board.
Until this year, there has not been an opportunity for the Ambler community to learn about all of the candidates under one roof. Typically, you have to attend the D’s or the R’s individual functions, which leaves out quite a few. That will change this year, as on October 24th, there will be a non-partisan community meeting where all candidates, from all parties, are invited to speak and engage in a Q&A with members of the audience.
This is your chance to get to know the candidates, learn their platforms, and understand why they are desirous of the position. In addition to learning about the candidates, the meeting will also offer a mini “civics lesson.” The purpose of this is to help the community understand how Ambler Borough operates and what can realistically be expected of a candidate in his or her position.
This meeting is free, there is nothing asked of you, other than your time for the evening. In fact, there is no money being exchanged at all; the venue has been graciously donated by From the Boot, sound and music by Ambler Music, assistance in the form of a meeting facilitator by Mark Warshaw, and the event logo by Joe Ronca.
This event was created with the Ambler community in mind, you are encouraged to attend and be better prepared to make your voice heard on November 5th!
It is almost impossible to believe that Labor Day is less than one week away, kids are going back to school and summer has come to a close. Each summer seems to fly by faster and faster, and they say that’s what happens as you age, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept. Despite my grumblings regarding summers end, I must say, that it has been a fantastic couple of months. Our wonderful town has offered so much (First Fridays, the Ambler Farmers’ Market, the Ambler Arts & Music Festival, Restaurant Week, Dog Days, and more), and I’ve collected many great memories to reflect upon.
Without question, the best thing that happened to me this summer is the opening of the Ambler Farmers’ Market. As one of the founders, I have been working on this project since July of 2012, and have spent months wondering what the market would be like and how the community would respond. In my wildest dreams, I don’t think I could have imagined the reality of the market. We opened June 1st to an AMAZING crowd, the community came out in droves to support the market, and were thrilled to be able to shop for fresh, local food in downtown Ambler. I quickly realized that not only was the market a place to shop for food, but a community gathering place. Countless people were greeting one another and embracing; I commonly overheard “Oh my gosh, I haven’t seen you in years!” Members of our community talked and caught up with one another, meeting newest the members of the family (sometimes four legged) and made plans to meet later in town for dinner or a drink. Folks were just plain happy to be there.
As you probably know, the market offers a place for kids to hang out and do activities, live music and an educational series each week. Seeing children reconnect with school friends on the kids quilt, as well as making new ones, has been priceless. I have also learned quite a bit from the various speakers we have had thus far. A hay garden was introduced to me while learning about composting, both I hope to incorporate at my home next year. Meeting Theo, the six week old “kid” from our goat farm, holding baby chicks and being mesmerized by the sweetest baby gosling (in Marie’s arms, left) were certainly highlights, as well. Music is a big part of my life and I am so moved that our wonderful musicians graciously volunteer their time each week to make for a more enjoyable shopping experience. Our farmers and vendors are all so wonderful, knowledgeable and friendly. In fact, shopping at the market in and of itself can be an education! Learning about how the crops are grown and the animals raised, you can really feel the love that goes into the product that they bring to market. Shopping there has also exposed me to some foods that I’ve never tried before resulting in exciting culinary adventures in my kitchen. I may have put on a few extra lbs eating blueberry scones for breakfast every weekend, but it was worth every bite!
Another wonderful aspect of the market is our relationship with the Mattie Dixon Community Cupboard. Each Saturday at the close of the market, Mattie Dixon volunteers arrive to pick up very generous amounts of food donated by our farmers. The cupboard commonly gets canned goods and non-perishable items, but with the market in town, they are able to offer their customers a great variety of fresh produce, breads and more!
On a more personal note, working on (and at) the market has been one of the most rewarding things that I’ve ever been a part of. Witnessing the benefit and life that it has brought to the community and being a part of something that I feel is vital to Ambler’s continued growth brings me a tremendous amount of joy. I have also made some incredible friendships along the way that I know will stand the test of time. Speaking not as an Ambler Main Street volunteer, but as someone who has come to appreciate the value of being involved in our community, I encourage you to think about how and where you can engage.
Although there is no denying the end of summer, fortunately, the market will be open for a few more months and I look forward to seeing you there!