Opportunities for High School Senior Students:
Neducsin Spirit of Manayunk Scholarship Fund
The man who re-created Manayunk's Main Street
From the Philadelphia Inquirer, February 24, 2003)
Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce names
Dan Neducsin Small Businessperson of the Year
Opportunities for High School Senior Students
Neducsin Spirit of Manayunk Scholarship Fund
For Residents of Manayunk: Zip Codes 19127 & 19128
The criteria met by the students require active community service, academic achievement, (GPA 2.6 minimum), financial need, and extracurricular activities and must reside in area zip cod 19127 or 19128. Students must maintain the criteria throughout their college career.
New applications will be available in local high school guidance offices, or can be downloaded from the Neducsin Properties website in the fall.
In addition to the scholarship award Mr. & Mrs. Neducsin presented Irene Madrak, Director of North Light community Center, a multiservice community based, non-profit organization service Manayunk, Roxborough, and Wissahickon with a donation of $10,000 to the center. "Your investment in these young folks and your generosity to North Light overwhelms me in the best way." stated Irene Madrak.
Download the 2014 application.
Download the reference sheet.
Contact: Luana Neducsin, 215 487 2700
161 LEVERINGTON AVE., #100
PHILADELPHIA, PA 19127
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The man who re-created Manayunk's Main Street
Developer Dan Neducsin has been a catalyst for its modernization.
When Dan Neducsin came to Manayunk in 1988, 30 buildings on Main Street were boarded up. The neighborhood - once home to bustling mills along the Schuylkill that made many things and provided jobs to families on the hillside - was decaying.
The developer and retailer discovered the Philadelphia neighborhood by happenstance, while celebrating his birthday at Jake's Restaurant. Flush with money from the sale of his 18 Mr. Goodbuys home improvement stores, Neducsin soon began buying property and opening businesses.
He went on to become the catalyst for creating the modern Main Street Manayunk, friends and foes agree. The street is more robust than ever. Thirty-five businesses have opened during the hard times since Sept. 11, 2001, including the street's 22d furniture store. An unprecedented three apartment buildings are under construction, and others are planned. There are no boarded-up buildings now.
"Dan Neducsin was responsible for sparking what we have today," said Robert Swarbrick, a developer and president of the Manayunk Development Corp., a nonprofit economic development group.
Dan Neducsin is also the man angry residents blame for rising taxes and "taking away their peaceful neighborhood," said Jane Glenn, president of the Manayunk Neighborhood Council. She said she missed the homey cafes, the five-and-dime store, and pharmacy, adding: "Now Main Street is useless for the day-to-day needs of people who live here."
At first, many long-term residents were downright hostile toward Neducsin, firing off threatening letters and waving "developer-go-home" signs in his face. His longtime partner in the Mr. Goodbuys chain, Steve Erlbaum, pulled out. "He didn't like the confrontations," Neducsin said in a recent interview.
Things are calmer now. "It's been awhile since I've been hung in effigy," Neducsin said with a sigh.
Things have changed, Glenn, the neighborhood council ! president, said. "We're trying try to get people to see the broader pi cture. . . . We're working on negotiating, not just yelling and screaming. We were at odds for so long, and that didn't help anyone."
The furor over Neducsin stirs mixed feelings in people such as Victor Ostroff, who has spent more time than most on Manayunk's Main Street . He runs the A.I. Poland Jewelry Store that his great-great aunt and uncle opened there in 1899. "I've been around this store for 40 years," he said. "Ever since I could see over the counter, I've been given something to do here."
He, too, said he missed the old charm and lamented that "old Manayunk had more zest" than the upscale retailers and restaurants Neducsin has drawn to the street. But, "you can't stand still," and old Manayunk was being boarded up, he added.
Osteroff said: "What Dan did worked. Overall, it is hard to fault him. He's done far more right than wrong. Before he came, nothing was happening here except a lot of dreaming that something like New Hope [the Bucks County ! village of quaint shops and cafes] would soon come to Main Street ."
What Neducsin did was buy enough property to set set a new tone and create a mix of stores and restaurants, promoted by festivals, that would draw people to Main Street , said Kay Smith, executive director of the Manayunk Development Corp.
He has worked with the longtime residents, creating scholarship programs for their children and refusing to rent space to condom stores and other businesses that attract rowdies, Smith and others said.
He has been willing to invest his own money in businesses that would strengthen retail activity on the street. He helped win a moratorium on new liquor licenses that lasted from 1997 to 2002.
Early on, he discovered that talented young chefs lacked working capital for restaurants that would draw a crowd. So he put up the money for the Sonoma , the first of three restaurants he co-owns with chef Derek Davis. It occupies a once-vacant space, half of ! which had been unused for 75 years. Later, they added KC Prime and the Arroyo Grill.
In all, Neducsin owns nearly 50 properties, some in partnership with former Mayor William Green and others, and about 350 apartment units.
His most recent big investment was a new French furniture store, a 50-50 partnership with Lori Gayman, a veteran interior designer and retailer. This store has the nation's largest collection of modern Ligne Roset furniture, he boasts.
This encouraged Gary Gevurtz to create a store below his existing Somnia furniture store in an old mill building that dates back to the Civil War. When it opens this spring, it will feature European furniture, and possibly a cafe on a deck overlooking the river.
"Manayunk is becoming a furniture mecca," Neducsin, 59, said, sliding easily into his Porsche sports car after introducing a reporter to his competitor.
Life on Main Street feels good for Neducsin these days. People wave cheerfully at him; others stop to discuss problems and make suggestions. Merchan! ts support him with their words and deeds - when he popped in to seek one, another talked a police officer out of giving Neducsin a parking ticket for leaving his Porsche in a driveway.
He talks with pride of compromises struck with neighbors to create more parking.
The old factory and Civil War-era hospital buildings that now house his Lofts at Chimney Hill apartments at 161 Leverington Ave. , just off Main Street , had been vacant for eight years. "The windows were broken, walls were marred by graffiti, kids were doing all sorts of things inside. It's amazing it all didn't go up in flames," he recalled.
Now he is building more apartments up the hill. From their rooftop decks, residents of these new units will have a view of the city skyline, and there's also a stairway down the hill to Main Street .
Neducsin grew up in Cheltenham, and now shares a townhouse near Rittenhouse Square in Center City with his second wife, Luana. She works with him in promoting Manayunk, and shares his passion for riding bicycles - here a s well as in China , Morocco , Thailand , Italy , France (twice) and New England .
In Manayunk, his fans include many who were there when he arrived. "Dan is an incredible man, not at all self-serving - he has a real heart for the community," said Rick Carocci, owner of the Trans American Office Furniture Co. He has been on Main Street since 1976, back when artists were discovering the quaint neighborhood with its picturesque settings, safe streets and affordable rents.
Glenn, the neighborhood council president, acknowledged that what annoys neighbors most are the out-of-town landlords who rent to three, four or five young people, "all with cars. . . . We don't have room for that."
She said Neduscin has joined her neighbors in fighting bars that are a magnet to boisterous patrons who urinate on their front steps and awaken sound sleepers into the late hours.
"His places aren't the problem," Glenn said.
There is talk of more change - of refurbish! ing the old canal, of paddle boats and kayaks, and of improving the bike path that already attracts 500,000 riders a year.
Retailers cheer construction of apartments by Neducsin, and rival developers Bart Blatstein and Albert M. Greenfield. Many support the Venice Island apartment complexes planned by developers Carl Dranoff and Dennis Maloomian.
City officials applaud, too: Seventy-five percent of the residents these new dwellings attract work outside the city and are willing to endure the city wage tax for the charm of Manayunk.
Meanwhile, controversies simmer on. Glenn, for example, bristles at the thought of more apartments. She said she would prefer "something that creates jobs" - and more open park space.
Still, she acknowledged that once-intense fears that everything would change in Manayunk were subsiding.
"The cute little neighborhood, with its hills and historic charm" that Glenn fell in love with 25 years ago is still "a wonderful place to live," she said. "There are lots of interesting and good p eople here. The other day, we worked together shoveling snow, and while we were doing it, we organized dinner parties."
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Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce names Dan Neducsin
Small Businessperson of the Year
Daniel Neducsin, a developer by trade, created Neducsin Properties from the mortar up. One thing he has learned, he cautions, is that you can't please everyone.
That doesn't stop him from trying.
Neducsin owns nearly 40 properties in Manayunk, from award-winning apartment buildings to one-of-a-kind retail shops and restaurants.
Did we mention he also started the Manayunk Arts Festival?
Neducsin, who has a difficult time describing himself as a developer because he sticks to one geographical area, explains his philosophy on renting this way: Try to obtain tenants that will cater to an upscale crowd and who own businesses that will be destination stores.
“I knew I didn't want chain stores because I wanted a reason for people to come to Manayunk,” says Neducsin. “You can find The Gap in every mall.”
In any neighborhood, developers face the not-in-my-backyard syndrome. And sometimes the biggest barrier developers face, says Neducsin, are the neighbors. When Neducsin decided to take a bamble and buy a run-down factory off Main Street that had been vacant for eight years, he thought the neighbors would be thrilled.
He was wrong.
What the neighbors wanted was a structured lot where they could park for free. Instead, Neducsin built The Lofts at Chimney Hill, which captured the Best Apartment of the Year Award.
If enthusiasm is what you want, Neducsin has plenty of it. It is, in fact, his favorite word. “If you have setbacks and you can maintain your enthusiasm, you're going to be successful,” he claims.
More than 300,000 people are attracted to the annual Manayunk Arts Festival that Neducsin envisioned. In addition, his restaurants served more than a half million each year, capturing the imagination and trendsetters throughout the region.
It's good for business and adds to the community, but Neducsin isn't done yet.
“I feel even though much has happened, more is going to happen,” he observes.
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