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Old 10-30-2009, 05:00 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
32,161 posts, read 74,087,209 times
Reputation: 18344

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While searching literally everywhere for a place to relocate that has a traditional downtown business district (even one that's struggling), older homes with character, and housing prices that are attainable for middle-class professional singles I must say that Phillisburg, just across the Delaware River from Easton, PA, has caught my attention. I did a search on this forum, and everyone said Phillipsburg is generally a "scum hole," but to me it looks like a true diamond in the rough. I don't have children, so I never envision public schools to be an issue for me, and even though I'm white-collar and college-educated I tend to mesh well with blue-collars.

Here are some aerial images I snapped from the Internet of why I like Phillipsburg (from afar).








The downtown business district while weathered and worn, also has tremendous potential in my eyes. I see an old bank building right on the main drag. There's one former bank that's almost identical to this bank along Main Avenue in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Scranton, PA that has been successfully converted into a popular restaurant featuring brick-oven pizza called "Faccia Luna." Perhaps that could be done here too if the bank building is currently underutilized? I'm sure the homes on the hilltop in the third photo have some great views of the river.


I absolutely love the sheer density in this photo, which captures the heart and essence of a good chunk of Phillipsburg. I wouldn't mind living in a rowhome or twin (duplex) in need of some renovations, especially if I could find one for under $200,000 while earning a $50,000-$60,000 salary as a CPA by commuting east or west.


I found how all of the homes along the one side of this street were essentially the same to be intriguing. Tract-housing---but tastefully done.

All in all I'm just looking for an eventual escape from Fairfax County, Virginia's cul-de-sac and big-box-store lifestyle. There's so little charm, character, or soul to be had here, and I find myself now researching literally DOZENS of communities---as large as Pittsburgh and Baltimore and as small as Phillipsburg---to call my new home next year. Right now I'm leaning STRONGLY towards Pittsburgh, but I'd believe it or not be moving slightly further away from my family in Eastern PA by moving there. It seems like Phillipsburg has it all---a little over an hour to NYC, a riverfront setting, unique architecture, proximity to the Lehigh Valley, and a short drive to the Pocono Mountains, Jersey Shore, or to family back in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA. What's the catch? Why has Phillipsburg continued to wane and wither while other Rust Belt cities nearby, like Bethlehem, PA, are undergoing exciting renaissances?
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Old 10-30-2009, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
32,161 posts, read 74,087,209 times
Reputation: 18344
I currently pay $1,135/month (plus utilities for a grand total of about $1,350/month) for rent on a 1-BR apartment in suburban Virginia. It's amazing to me how much further your dollar goes in small towns with lots of potential like Phillipsburg.


Phillipsburg Town, NJ, 08865 - MLS #2707135 - Condo/Townhome/Row Home/Co-Op real estate - REALTOR.com®
Here we have a 3-BR/1-BA rowhome on a tiny lot for $79,900. It needs some interior cosmetic work (that dark wood paneling is HIDEOUS), but to me it just seems like a bargain. It would be hard to find something with that much potential with in-town convenience for that affordable of a price even in my hometown of Scranton, PA.

Phillipsburg Town, NJ, 08865 - MLS #2685182 - Single Family Home real estate - REALTOR.com®
Another 3-BR/1-BA detached dwelling that looks like it has plenty of potential for just $85,000.

Phillipsburg Town, NJ, 08865 - MLS #2699297 - Single Family Home real estate - REALTOR.com® (http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/Phillipsburg-Town_NJ_08865_1111012062 - broken link)
$119,900 for this home with 2-BR/1-BA on a 1/10-acre lot with 2 off-street parking spaces (I'm sure I could convert one to a brick patio area for a hot tub or a dog run for my future Siberian Husky!) The kitchen is semi-modern in this one too.

Phillipsburg Town, NJ, 08865 - MLS #2721939 - Single Family Home real estate - REALTOR.com®
This charming four-square traditional home comes on a 1/10-acre lot and has 3-BR/1-BA for $124,900 ($660/month---About half of what I'm currently paying to live in Fairfax County, VA).

Phillipsburg Town, NJ, 08865 - MLS #2711621 - Single Family Home real estate - REALTOR.com® (http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/Phillipsburg-Town_NJ_08865_1112400087 - broken link)
MY DREAM HOME!!! House orgasm! Only $129,000!


Wow! It's somewhat depressing that I'm barely keeping a 1-BR roof above my head in Fairfax County, VA, and I earn in the $40k-range annually. On that same salary in Phillipsburg I could buy my dream home (like the one immediately above!)
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Old 10-30-2009, 05:22 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
32,161 posts, read 74,087,209 times
Reputation: 18344
I know I'll likely take a lot of heat for this thread, but with gorgeous homes with hardwood flooring, natural woodwork, stained glass windows, etc. selling for under $150,000 and being located within an hour's drive of many major employment centers, I just don't understand why Phillipsburg is so oft-maligned on this forum. It looks like a dream come true to me. Hell, there's even a new Lowe's just outside town so I could pick up a second part-time job if need be at my former employer to supplement my income. What's the catch? I can't envision Phillipsburg being a haven for random murders. Drug problem? So what. EVERYWHERE has major drug issues---even Alpine probably has "enabled" teens doing drugs/alcohol.

I know I've never physically been to Phillipsburg before, but just from an hour's research zooming around aerial images and looking into the real estate market I just don't understand what's so "bad" about it.
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Old 10-30-2009, 06:02 PM
 
Location: The Communist State of NJ
7,183 posts, read 11,398,501 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
I just don't understand what's so "bad" about it.
It's a very depressed and depressing area. The schools are not good.
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Old 10-30-2009, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
32,161 posts, read 74,087,209 times
Reputation: 18344
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calico696 View Post
It's a very depressed and depressing area. The schools are not good.
I don't exactly think it's "depressing." People thought Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA was "depressing" too when I lived there, and we all know that's far from the truth. I actually just sat down and watched numerous relocation-oriented videos about the town on its web site, and with a newly-renovated library, people jet-skiing and canoening on the river, and hanging flags from their second-story railings downtown it doesn't look too bad.

As I said for me personally schools are a non-issue. I can easily see myself buying a run-down home here, fixing it up, and then opening my own business on Main Street.

This web site has proven itself to be one of the most helpful municipal web sites I've come across:

http://www.phillipsburgnj.org/

I'm not trying to pick a fight or anything, but I fail to see how the town is "depressing."
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Old 10-30-2009, 06:53 PM
 
Location: Vermont
5,440 posts, read 16,246,771 times
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scranbarre, I don't get it either..... It seems like it should be a really nice town. IT is really cute from what I have seen. Have you ever been there? I have not made it out there.
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Old 10-30-2009, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
32,161 posts, read 74,087,209 times
Reputation: 18344
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe moving View Post
scranbarre, I don't get it either..... It seems like it should be a really nice town. IT is really cute from what I have seen. Have you ever been there? I have not made it out there.
I hope to visit perhaps for an overnight stay at some point soon. From my vantage point it seems like a no-brainer that with the prohibitive cost of real estate closer to Philadelphia that Easton/Phillipsburg could very easily morph themselves into NYC's version of New Hope/Lambertville. Phillipsburg looks to have some very desirable historic architecture, and I can't wait to scope out the Phillipsburg Bakery, housed in a Flatiron-style building. The riverside rail excursions look nice as well.

I'm just wondering what the "catch" is besides the abysmal public schools. It seems like a community with abundant civic pride---something I really yearn for. I'll have to visit for myself, but then again what most people see as "depressing" I see as potential. Trust me, when you live in a cul-de-sac wasteland you'll learn to truly appreciate a historic home that's a bit rusted around the edges. I'd love to do a photo tour of the community to post on this forum, and it would be nice if anyone who knew of someone who lived along Front Street (the homes on the ridgetop overlooking the bridge to Easton) could ask if I could venture into their backyards to snap some pics overlooking the town below.
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Old 10-30-2009, 08:41 PM
 
Location: Vermont
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more crime than an avg NJ town. if you look @ the crime stats, it's a "200". for reference hawthorne is 100, paterson is a "445". 200 doesn't sound like it would be life threatening. hoboken is 225. hackensack is 190.

i heard there is some flooding also.

best probably just to go check it out.
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Old 10-30-2009, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
32,161 posts, read 74,087,209 times
Reputation: 18344
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe moving View Post
more crime than an avg NJ town. if you look @ the crime stats, it's a "200". for reference hawthorne is 100, paterson is a "445". 200 doesn't sound like it would be life threatening. hoboken is 225. hackensack is 190.

i heard there is some flooding also.

best probably just to go check it out.
I was curious about how much of the town floods from the Delaware River. As I said the "crime" doesn't concern me, as I still think the odds of someone walking down Main Street and getting shot at random in the face as part of a gang initiation are probably worse than winning the PowerBall jackpot back-to-back.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:42 PM
 
2,988 posts, read 8,546,988 times
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I think what happened to Phillipsburg is that it has been bypassed by the 21st century. Gone are the water and rail transports and the major highways through Phillipsburg. Manufacturing is gone in P'burg.

It has become a little river town in the middle of "nowhere".

Lambertville/New Hope might have suffered the same fate were it not for the cache of the artisan/antique culture that is supported by the affluence of the surrounding areas (Pennington/Princeton/Hopewell for example).

I find the town to be very charming and think that if it were ever to become a "tourist to go to" town like Lambertville it would lose some of that charm.

Anyway.... My vote is for the "Orgasm House"-http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/Phillipsburg-Town_NJ_08865_1112400087

Someone loved that house!
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