Former VNA Office Among Properties Reviewed by Township

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Increasingly higher costs for the proposed Lower Pottsgrove municipal campus, driven by inflation, materials demands, and supply chain problems, now have the township Board of Commissioners reassessing their options on current and future space needs for administrative offices and its police department. It’s begun to re-examine existing structures as potential choices.

Board members, during their Thursday (April 21, 2022) meeting, authorized an expense of $3,800 to hire Coyle, Lynch and Co. to conduct an appraisal of the 1963 E. High St. office building formerly owned by Tower Health and originally built for the Visiting Nurse Association of Pottstown and Vicinity. Coyle, Lynch is a valuation advisory services firm headquartered in Media PA.

The structure is “one of many options” the board is looking at, township Manager Ed Wagner said – and, for the most part, looked at least once before – because bids offered to build the municipal campus are substantially higher than budgeted. The entire project, first valued at more than $8 million, was put on hold by commissioners during February after they again rejected all bids submitted.

It may be a year or more, Wagner estimated, before costs drop sufficiently to make the campus project economically feasible. Board members acknowledge the township’s space needs are urgent and growing, and they probably can’t wait that long. They began meeting with township Solicitor Jamie Ottaviano in executive sessions during March and this month to discuss possible solutions.

However, no time frame or limits have been set for the current search, according to the manager. Because it’s considered premature, there’s also been apparently little discussion on what might happen with properties at or near East High Street and South Pleasant View Road which the township has already assembled and purchased for the campus location.

It was Ottaviano who recommended Coyle, Lynch for the appraisal work, Wagner said. More appraisals may be considered, he added, as the board narrows its search. Some of the buildings being considered, most of them office structures, were part of a 2017 review done by commissioners and their Infrastructure Committee before the campus project was contemplated, he added.

The board would prefer to have the township purchase and own, rather than lease, a property if it liked it well enough and both the price and any renovation costs were acceptable, Wagner noted.

October 2021 photo of 1963 E. High St. from Google Street View