Modern Luxury Blends With Old World Charm at the Residences at Palmer Square in Downtown Princeton

via Michael Travin/ RESIDENT Magazine

A vision that began in the 1930s by Edgar Palmer to build a vibrant, European Style town square in the heart of Princeton that would include shops, restaurants and residences as a complement to Princeton University is in its final stages of completion.  A venture more than 75 years in the making is culminating with The Residences at Palmer Square, a collection of multi-story townhomes and single-level flats that are now more than 80% occupied.

The Residences at Palmer Square marks the coming of age of a project whose foundations were laid during the Great Depression and over the years has blossomed into one of the finest examples of a commercial downtown. Inspired by architect Thomas Stapleton’s original Colonial Revival design for Palmer Square, Minno & Wasko Architects and Planners of Lambertville, NJ helped make  the vision a reality by designing  a number of distinctive elevations that complement the brick, Federal-style exteriors and Colonial-era structures of the immediate Palmer Square environment. Many years of thoughtful planning has gone into creating the optimal balance of architectural styles and commercial and residential uses.

The unique energy and convenience of living at The Residences at Palmer Square stems from its prime location within Palmer Square, which is also home to more than 40 brand-name stores, boutiques, restaurants and specialty food shops, as well as the historic Nassau Inn.  The community is also located directly across Nassau Street from Princeton University, and provides easy access to the arts, entertainment, cultural offerings and award-winning schools throughout the area.  NJ TRANSIT access to New York and Philadelphia (and beyond) is only a short walk from The Residences at Palmer Square, and businesses and shopping venues of the nearby Route 1 corridor are also within easy reach. Continue reading

Princeton: From college town to boomtown

New York Post

via  Adam Bonislawski/ The New York Post


Jim and Judy Betlyon with one their three sons, Casey, outside their Palmer Square townhouse in Princeton, NJ. Photo: Christian Johnston

Jim and Judy Betlyon with one their three sons, Casey, outside their Palmer Square townhouse in Princeton, NJ.
Photo: Christian Johnston

PRINCETON, NJ, might not seem the likeliest spot for those in search of an urban vibe, but new developments and a walkable core have buyers — including former New Yorkers — flocking to this college town for a taste of city living.

According to numbers from Maura Mills, an agent with Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty, this year Princeton has seen an average of 28 properties per month go into contract — up from 27 a month in 2013 and 22 per month in 2012. The average sales price, meanwhile, has climbed to $980,234 — up from $933,745 in 2013 and $867,708 in 2012.

And at the high end of the market, sales are accelerating even more quickly. In 2012 and 2013, Princeton saw, respectively, 66 and 92 sales close on properties over $1 million. In the first eight months of 2014, 82 such deals have closed — putting the city on pace for 123 $1-million-plus sales on the year. These properties have averaged 86 days on the market in 2014, compared to 101 days in 2013 and 127 in 2012.

Of course, Princeton is no stranger to well-heeled buyers. A little over an hour from Manhattan either by car or NJ Transit, this town of around 30,000 has long been a popular, and pricey, community — both for commuters and residents associated with the namesake university.

Area real estate agents have observed a change, however, in where many of these high-end buyers are choosing to settle. In recent years, growing demand for in-town properties, including several new apartment and townhouse projects, has shifted the city’s center of gravity.


Palmer Square is an office, retail and residential development near Princeton University. Photo: Taylor Photo

Palmer Square is an office, retail and residential development near Princeton University.
Photo: Taylor Photo

Proximity to downtown amenities was a key factor in the decision by Jim Betlyon and his wife, Judy, to three years ago buy a three-bedroom townhouse in the city’sPalmer Squaredevelopment. This collection of office, retail and residential spaces is close to the university.

After raising their three sons on 20 acres in nearby Bucks County, Pa., the couple decided they wanted something more centrally located.

“A city-living environment was appealing to us,” Betlyon says. “We knew we wanted to be right in town where we could just jump out and get a quart of milk in the morning or go to dinner without having to get in the car.”

Not exactly a development in a hurry, Palmer Square has been under construction since the 1930s, with new parts added each decade. In 2010, the complex — which includes a 188-room hotel along with 150,000 square feet of office space and 110,000 square feet of retail — opened the Residences at Palmer Square. The newer project includes 60 two- and three-bedroom rentals (starting at $4,258 per month), 23 two- and three-bedroom condos ($1.23 to $2.56 million) and 17 two- and three-bedroom townhomes ($1.64 to $2.95 million).

Daniel Scheid and his wife, Mary Beth, both retirees, purchased a three-bedroom townhouse at Palmer Square in 2010 to be closer to their daughter, who is married to a Princeton University professor. The couple previously lived in an 1830s rowhouse in Philadelphia’s Center City.

“We liked that urban environment,” Daniel says of their former Philadelphia home. Palmer Square offers a similar experience, he says, albeit on a slightly smaller scale.

“The number of [amenities] are far greater in Philadelphia, of course.” But, he notes, his new home is within easy walking distance of offerings like restaurants, coffee shops, museums and theaters.


From Mayfair to Palmer Square: Self-Described “Corporate Vagabonds” at Home in Princeton

via Linda Arntzenius/Town Topics

2014-07-23_11-59-35As President of ME Global, a global chemical company headquartered in London, England, Dan Scheid and his wife Mary Beth Scheid enjoyed a lifestyle at the center of a bustling city. They lived in Mayfair, in Shepherd’s Market to be precise, and Dan could walk to work. “It was wonderful, my office was right opposite St. James’s Palace,” recalled Dan in a telephone interview from the West Coast where the couple were hiking two hours outside of Seattle before traveling on to Ashville, North Carolina, to visit the John C. Campbell Folk School.

Easy access to everything their environment had to offer was what they were looking for when Dan retired in 2006 and the couple moved back to the United States.

They found it in Philadelphia, in a row house in Center City where, said Mary Beth, they fully expected to stay. But after their daughter Clancy married Princeton professor, David August, the Scheids found themselves spending more and more time in Princeton. The draw had much to do with their three grandchildren Betty, 4, Josie, 2, and Danny, 7 months. The Scheids plans for the future changed.

The Scheids moved into the Residences at Palmer Square in September 2010.

Besides family, one other consideration prompted their choice. Mobility. “We loved our four-story row house in center city, but we realized that mobility and stairs would one day become an issue for us,” said Dan. Even so, they had thought to move to a more convenient home in Philadelphia — until they saw the new steel and concrete construction of luxury multi-story town homes and expansive single-level condominiums taking shape in the center of Princeton.

“As soon as the new residences became available, we were the first ones knocking on the door,” said Dan. “The promise of living in the center of downtown Princeton and being able to walk to everything was very enticing. It was similar to everything we liked about center city.”

Impressed by what they saw, the Scheids walked though numerous homes in various stages of construction and got a good look at the bone structure of each residence.

Their three-story town home on Chambers Street, which also has a basement, is “everything we had hoped for,” said Dan. “Downtown Princeton offers a best-of-both-worlds living environment that few places can match. There’s the ease of a comfortable, small-town existence, but it is coupled with an urban vibrancy and international presence that you usually can’t find outside a big city. Princeton also has the advantage of being convenient to both Philadelphia and New York City. And The Residences at Palmer Square enjoy the best location in Princeton without question. We regularly attend the McCarter Theatre and Princeton University Art Museum, and love being able to walk to all of the restaurants and shops within Palmer Square and around town.”

The Scheids embraced the idea of living in a new-construction home. “The floor plan of the Palmer Square townhome was strikingly similar to our row house, including compatible design details and a classical layout, but with clear advantages,” Dan pointed out. “A brand new home compared to an 1830s building means more efficient space, improved energy efficiency, and fewer maintenance issues.”

And an elevator that takes them right into their apartment will give them the mobility they were concerned about when the time comes. Dan, 66, and Mary Beth, 65, are fit and physically active. They enjoy ballroom dancing at the Suzanne Patterson Center, traveling, music.

Both hail from Jackson, Michigan, where they went to the same high school. “Mary Beth and I met as freshmen; Mary Beth’s older brother was my best friend,” recalled Dan. Their son, Charles, lives in San Francisco and their daughter, Anna, in Amherst, Massachussetts.

The Scheids have made an effort to become part of the community, Dan serves as a trustee of the Historical Society of Princeton. “Being a part of the community was important to us and gave us a reason to make the move now when we are still young and active rather than later,” he said.

One of the best things Mary Beth has found in Princeton is the Newcomers and Friends Club run by the Princeton YWCA, which has about 200 members and serves as an excellent conduit for those new to the town. “I do one activity with the group at least once a week and we have met a lot of couples this way,” she said.

 Princeton Living

Besides access to their growing family, living in Princeton offers other benefits. They find the cost of living in Princeton to be much less than they experienced in London. “It’s comparable to center city Philadelphia.” said Dan. “The big difference in living here is substantially higher taxes of all sorts, property taxes, income and sales taxes combined compared to Philadelphia and elsewhere in Pennsylvania. But when it comes to normal living expenses and food, costs are much the same.1

Located on Paul Robeson Place between Chambers and Witherspoon Streets, The Residences at Palmer Square complete a development project begun by Edgar Palmer in 1937. The new homes were designed along the lines of a European-style town square that would include shops, restaurants and residences. The brick Federal style exteriors are designed to complement existing buildings.

According to a press release, the residential community offers custom interior features and appointments including private elevators, 9- and 10-foot high ceilings and tray ceilings, extensive millwork, fireplaces with marble hearths, pocket doors and elegant crown moldings. Gourmet kitchens have maple cabinets, granite countertops, and Viking stainless steel appliances; spa-like master baths feature whirlpool tubs, double sinks, glass showers, and marble countertops. Many of the homes have their own terraces and there are landscaped promenades, courtyards, and common outdoor areas. There is also indoor parking for residents.

There are 32 different floor plans from two- and three-bedroom, single-level flats, to two- and three-bedroom, multi-level townhouses.

The single level flats have between 1,623 and 4,130 square feet of living space; the townhomes have between 2,622 and 3,084 square feet. The flats range in price from $1.245 to $3.4 million; the townhomes from $1.775 to $2,195 million.

A limited number of rental residences are also available, with two- and three-bedroom floor plans ranging from 1,623 to 3,195 square feet of living space monthly rents starting at S4.800.

For more information on The Residences at Palmer Square, call (609) 924-3884, or visit