A strong rental market at The Residences at Palmer Square, the cluster of townhomes and condominium apartments between Paul Robeson Place and Hulfish Street, is an indicator that contracts for the homes in the complex that are for sale will pick up soon, say those involved in their marketing. Signs of life at the community – pots of mums on balconies, lights glowing from within – are evidence that interest has picked up at the development, which offers homes starting at $1.2 million.
Of the 52 units built as rentals, 46 have been leased, according to David Newton, vice president of Palmer Square Management. Renters have been moving in since last December. But only four of the units for purchase have been sold. “We still have a number of units left,” Mr. Newton said. “At the moment, 25 are immediately available, 11 of which are condo apartments and 14 of which are townhomes.”
Now that rentals are nearly complete, the focus is on selling the rest of the complex. “I think the rental market has been very strong in the last year,” Mr. Newton said. “We’re hopeful that with interest low and the quality of the product we’ve created that sales are going to occur in the next 12 months.”
Kimberly Rizk, an agent for Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty, which is marketing the homes, said interest in the complex has picked up in recent months. “People are over there all the time,” she said. “Two buildings are renting like crazy. Sales are slow on the townhouses and condos, no question about it. But we’re hoping that will turn around. There is a nice new amenity, a concierge service. And renters are thinking that maybe they’ll buy. So I think we’ll have some conversions.”
An open house advertised recently at the development was for a home priced at $1.855 million, offering “a minimum of three luxurious finished levels of living space, full basements and private elevators.” Mr. Newton said there are no plans to lower prices.
“There are some small incentives being offered, but prices are not being lowered,” he said. “We’ve built, we feel, to a high standard, and we have sold to certain people at one set of prices so we’re not going to change to another. We know that one way or another, they’ll sell. In three to five years, I guarantee that this will be the most popular place to live in Princeton. It’s beautiful, it’s in town, and this is the type of product people want.”
Those renting at the complex cover a wide age range. “There are empty nesters, baby boomers, not any great pattern,” Mr. Newton said. Ms. Rizk added, “We’re marketing to everybody and anybody who understands the value and the convenience of living downtown. There is no real set model of people living there. We’ve got young families, empty nesters, young professionals, from twenties to nineties. It’s anybody and everybody who wants to live in an urban environment.”
Recent additions to the retail establishments in Palmer Square are geared toward home and design. The Farmhouse Store moved last week into the space formerly occupied by The Papery at 43 Hulfish Street. The Papery has relocated to 15 Hulfish Street, a few doors down. The Farmhouse Store carries barn wood furniture, small artisan gifts, pottery, glass, and other items. Indigo by Shannon Connor Interiors opened at 45 Palmer Square West, at the former location of Spruce Connor Interiors. Owner Shannon Connor has re-launched the store to include home furnishings including custom furniture, rugs, and gift items.
Brooks Brothers, in the space formerly occupied by Banana Republic; and Urban Outfitters, in the store that housed Talbot’s, which has moved a few doors down on Nassau Street, will open by the end of the year.
Proximity to the shops and restaurants of Palmer Square are a major part of the marketing of The Residences. “You can’t have a better location,” said Ms. Rizk. “Sales are going to turn around.”