Award-Winning Revitalization Consultants

Hatboro Borough - Repopulating a Vacant Downtown

Hatboro Borough, Montgomery County, PA


In 2010, Hatboro’s downtown was dying. There were 54 empty stores on their Main Street. Entire blocks were completely empty.

Eight large anchor stores of 5,000 sq/ft or more had been vacant along Main Street for more than five years. Two weeks prior to Barth Consulting Group starting to work for Hatboro, five more retail stores closed.

Initially, BCG was hired to produce a survey from business owners on Main Street Hatboro. It was immediately apparent that what Hatboro needed was someone to fill the vacant stores.

Hatboro had large and complicated obstacles to overcome. Properties were in poor condition, most commercial property owners were from out-of-town and not concerned about who rented their spaces so long as they were rented.

One vacant store, a former Wendy’s had been vacant for six years. The property owner had a long-term lease still in effect from Wendy’s that paid a monthly income and all taxes even though the building was empty and boarded up.

Another building, The Old Mill Inn, a former upscale restaurant, had gone into foreclosure with a $1 million note. The property was overgrown and severely damaged from back-to-back floods.

A third anchor property, an 8.5 acre Colonial-era manor house, next to one of the Borough parks  sat empty and dilapidated.  The property had been subject to a failed state grant application to be acquired by the community to expand it as an adjoining park. Overgrown and crumbling, this was now the Southern gateway to Hatboro.

Another property, a third generation flagship car dealership, had lost its Dodge dealership status during the recession. It was now converted to a used car dealership. This 14,000 sq/ft building, car lots and ancillary buildings sat on 4.5 acres on Main Street.

A former 10,000 sq/ft carpet showroom, Big Marty’s, also sat empty on Main Street, its owner deceased. This key property with 35 parking spaces, was a prime development location. The dilapidated building, whose ceiling had collapsed was ridden with asbestos and mold.

Perhaps the greatest economic challenge for Hatboro was its largest tax parcel, a 29-acre, 400,000 sq/ft corporate complex, the former Vicks Vapor Rub Plant. It was less than 50% occupied, in poor condition, flooded and had gone into foreclosure with a local bank.

Focus on Vacant Anchor Stores

Station Park (Industrial Park): 29 acre, 400,000 sq/ft industrial complex- in bank foreclosure, 60% vacant.

Wachovia Bank Building: (Main Street) 10,000 sq/ft – Vacant six years.

Abington Bank: (Main Street) 5,000 sq/ft – Vacant three years.

White Billet: (Main Street) 8,000 sq/ft former respiratory care unit – Vacant 9 years

Crestbrook Farm: (Main Street) 8.5 acre site colonial home, outbuildings and barn. – Vacant 10 years

CVS Building: (Main Street) 12,000 sq/ft retail store in Town Center District – Vacant 5 years

Big Marty’s Carpet Store: (Main Street) 10,000 sq/ft – Vacant five years.

Old Mill Inn: (Main Street) 5,000 sq/ft – Vacant eight years, flood damaged, in foreclosure

Wendy’s: (Main Street) 5,000 sq/ft – Vacant six years.


Focusing on Main Street (York Road) – Property Owners, Investors, Realtors, Retailers & Promotion

Barth Consulting Group immediately began meeting with property owners and found that the majority of the downtown buildings were owned by “out-of-state” investors. Perviously, most commercial property owners were Hatboro residents having their shops on Main Street.

Many of Hatboro’s commercial property owners were essentially slum lords having purchased their buildings decades ago. Downtown buildings were dilapidated and in very poor condition.

Building conditions were so severe that any prospective tenants were scared off. Lease rates were $7 per sq/foot in 2010.

BCG met with property owners, in their buildings, and helped guide them from a tenant’s perspective. BCG created concept sketches of their buildings illustrating how rents could be doubled attracting higher quality, long-term tenants.


Barth Consulting Group completely transformed Hatboro’s Main Street. BCG received many awards and honors for this revitalization.

High Commercial Occupancy Rate – In 2010, 24% of the downtown was vacant. By 2018, the vacancy rate was 1.5%. Hatboro’s Main Street Revitalization grew the commercial occupancy rate from 76% to 98.5%.

Lease Rates Doubled – Lease rates were $7 per sq/ft in 2010 and rose to to $15 per sq/ft. Hundreds of new retail businesses were opened on Main Street creating jobs and revitalizing the community. Hatboro’s downtown is evolving and growing, property owners are fixing up their buildings and property values have gone up.

Hatboro now boasts over 24 eateries, a micro brewery (Crooked Eye Brewing), several new antique shops, a Vegan Wholesale Food manufacturer (LUHV Foods), a gourmet sausage store (Old World Sausage Factory), an upscale Italian bakery (Nonno’s Bakery), two national retail chains (John Deere & Aaron’s Furniture) and scores of other new businesses.

7 of 8 Anchors Filled –

Big Marty’s Carpet – $1.5 million project leased to Aaron’s Furniture – Courted new investor, secured national tenant, navigated municipal process. Created 15 new jobs.

Wachovia Bank – $3 million project sold to Hatboro Federal Savings as new Corporate Offices

Jarrett Dodge – $2.2 million project sold to John Deere Dealership. Created 15 new, full-time jobs.

Crest Brook Farm – $1.5 million donation and endowment to Hatboro YMCA for Summer Youth Camp

Wendy’s – $100,000 Renovation – Leased to TNT Diner – five year lease 

Old Mill Inn/Miller’s Home: 5,000 sq/ft – empty eight years – We had TD Bank’s Asset Recovery Unit maintain the building and had it listed for sale. Showed the property to 30 prospects. Finally, secured a local investor to purchase the property and restore the building. It is now a catering and event space