Upon visiting the massive, 40-acre Station Park office complex in Hatboro, visitors are greeted by countless doors leading into the eight different businesses anchoring the site.
A main entrance is missing, meaning those unfamiliar with the site are likely to circle about the sprawling parking lot, unsure of where to go.
Prior to the land transfer, Station Park had been in foreclosure and faced an uncertain future.
Station Park upgrades
Matt Handel, who oversees Alliance’s leasing and acquisition, said a roughly when the mortgage company that used the space to house a 650-person call center went out of business.
“Our plan is to reposition this space so it’s useable for smaller users,” Handel said during a tour of the property.
Besides pulling down cubicles and sectioning off the existing space, Handel said Alliance plans to use skylights to bring in natural light to the space; create a more user-friendly corridor system throughout the entire site; and redevelop the vacancies to house an office in front and flexible office/manufacturing space in the back.
“Any company that has a production element, or assembly element to their business,” would work well in the flex space, Handel said.
In addition to the large space left by the call center, Station Park also houses the remnant of what had operated as a full-service cafeteria. Handel said Alliance is “contemplating” revamping it as a grab and go cafeteria.
“We’re in the middle of the whole building right now,” Handel said.
So far, Handel said plans are conceptual in nature. Permits and plans have yet to be submitted to Hatboro, he said, adding that that would likely happen in the second half of 2013. Handel declined to say how much Alliance intended to spend upgrading Station Park.
Improvements would also address flooding issues at what had been the Vicks manufacturing plant until the mid-90s.
Potential business, employment growth
Station Park’s approximate 250 workers at existing businesses, Member Solutions, Clean Earth, ROI, Ricochets Gymnastics Club, Alencon, KinderCare, Parigi Childrens Apparel and YSC Soccer would see upgrades in the building’s common areas as well, Handel said. Efforts would be made to “make the building look a little nicer,” he said.
Once upgrades are made and all the spaces filled, Station Park could employ another 300 to 400 people based on Handel’s estimate of three or four employees per 1,000 square foot space.
Matt Gorman, an independent contractor who has worked on Station Park’s maintenance for the last five years, said he “can’t wait” for the improvements to be carried out.
Gorman had worked in Hatboro’s public works department for 20 years and is a long-time member of the borough’s Enterprise Fire Company. Both posts allowed Gorman to be “around the building” for 25 years, he said. Now, Gorman said he’s looking forward to watching all the planned improvements come to fruition.
“Everybody’s very excited,” Gorman said.
Hatboro Main Street Manager Stephen Barth said he had worked for several months helping to close the purchase of what amounts to be the borough’s largest property. Barth expressed excitement about Alliance and the company's track record, which saw the firm purchase $185 million in acquisitions from 2010 through 2012. Alliance’s properties are around the Mid-Atlantic region, Handel said, adding that most are centralized in Philadelphia and northern Virginia.
“It allows Hatboro to really go and bring some really high-level firms into the borough,” Barth said. “I want to work very closely with them.”
Handel said Station Park attracted Alliance because of its location so close to the Hatboro SEPTA station and the “bones of infrastructure” already in place.
“Each project kind of brings its own challenges, but also it’s own opportunities,” Handel said. “It’s all about responding to the market.”