This article originally appeared in the Philadelphia Business Journal on November 2, 2021.
Equus is developing the project in partnership with USAA Real Estate, which closed on a joint venture and first round of financing for the construction of 400 West Elm. Before deciding to build an apartment on the 10-acre site, Equus had envisioned an office building on the parcel only to revert back to a high-rise multifamily project.
“No one has done this in 30 years in the suburbs,” said Steve Spaeder of Equus about building a high-rise apartment building. “There is an unmet need in the market for something that is ultra luxury. It’s a Center City quality high-rise and will have service levels that surpass anything in the market. Our market is the most discerning and really cares about quality, design and service.”
Located across the river from Gladwyne and other Main Line communities, Spaeder believes 400 West Elm will attract a portion of those selling their estates who want to stay within the community and become a renter by choice. It will also attract a segment of the market that either works in Conshohocken or wants to live in a walkable, urban environment that has access to trails and trains, he said.
The development is expected to be completed by the fall of 2023.
At Ellis Preserve in Newtown Square, Equus broke ground on the Harrison, a 200-unit project. Whereas 400 West Elm seeks to capture more of an urban feel, the Harrison sits amid a mixed-use community on 210 sprawling acres. It is part of the final phase of the build out of Ellis Preserve.
When Equus completed its first apartment complex at Ellis Preserve in 2018, it was well received but there was room for some improvements when it came to planning the Harrison especially in light of the pandemic, which shifted how people work and socialize closer to home.
“Just like anything we do, we continue to refine what we do,” said Joe Mullen, CEO of Equus’ Madison Apartment Group.
Residents at Madison Ellis Preserve embraced its clubhouse, especially as a place to socialize and, with the pandemic, work remotely. With that in mind, the Harrison’s clubhouse was designed to be bigger at two stories and 9,400 square feet and with additional amenities.
“It is set up where you can have different rooms to meet and mingle, there will be wine tasing and residents have access to a wine locker, there’s fitness, a pet spa, conference rooms that can be reserved in addition to a private office or cubicles,” Mullen said. “These are things you learn.”
The project has a 25,000-square-foot courtyard that is an extension of the clubhouse and its amenities. The complex is expected to be completed next fall.