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Montgomery County Moves Forward with “100 Year” Plan

On Thursday, the AthenianRazak team presented the findings of our strategic real estate plan for the County of Montgomery’s Norristown Campus. We were charged with creating a plan that addressed the significant physical deficiencies of the buildings and shaped the County’s investment to support important goals for Campus within the broader Montgomery County community. Specifically, we were asked to “plan for 100 years” and recognize the generational investment contemplated in a plan of this magnitude.

Working with the County team, we mapped the key stakeholders including users, building operators, administrative leadership, elected officials, partner organizations and the public at large and created a multi-phase plan that focuses development around Hancock Square on Main Street in Norristown. The plan includes a new addition to the courthouse, renovation of the historic courthouse, reopening Penn Street along the east side of Hancock Square, the renovation of One Montgomery Plaza and a complete redesign of Hancock Square. The Montgomery County expansion creates many advantages for the future of Montgomery County and the community of Norristown.

State-of-the-Art Court & Security

Our strategy allows for flexibility in design and use; allowing for new state-of-the-art court rooms and support functions in a single more efficient facility, while preserving the historical court rooms in the existing court facility for ceremonial use. The new addition will allow for additional internal security and separation of circulation between the public, prisoners and judges.

Excellent Public Access

The Main Street Campus is adjacent to public transportation, SEPTA and numerous bus routes, as well as adequate parking to meet the County’s needs. The option also allows for the reopening of Penn Street, allowing for more connected streets and pedestrian-friendly routes.

Catalyst for Development

With the addition on Main Street, the County can drive the future development, retail opportunities and economic growth of downtown Norristown. It also presents opportunities for future growth of the County within adjacent parcels well into the future.

Activating the Town Square

Focusing the County facilities around Hancock Square presents an opportunity to redesign and expand the square, making it more conducive to community interaction and activity. Activating the square solidifies its importance as the center the Norristown community.

According to an article on Philly.com, “Norristown officials praised the plan, and said it could attract additional visitors and economic development to the county seat.”

And according to an article from The Intelligencer, “It addresses our needs, the court’s needs and will provide significant support to Norristown…”

The Montgomery County Commissioners voted on Thursday to approve our recommended strategy, and then signed off to start the 10-year project, including an amendment with AthenianRazak to lead the planning and design for the first phase.