Fresh, modern interiors in the model units appeal to upscale tenants.
Fresh, modern interiors in the model units appeal to upscale tenants.

Buildings aren’t meant to last forever — ask any homeowner! Even well-built architectural treasures need renovations eventually.

I’ve always been fascinated by how buildings change over time. Stewart Brand’s How Buildings Learn changed the way I look at buildings. It opened my eyes to the story and history of every building.

The sparkling swimming pool and inviting common areas beg for a late-summer party!
The sparkling swimming pool and inviting common areas beg for a late-summer party!
BEFORE: The old tennis court was poorly maintained and under-utilized.
BEFORE: The old tennis court was poorly maintained and under-utilized.

In the real estate business, “value-add” refers to an investment in an aging property to make upgrades and repairs, bringing the place back to life and make it viable again. It’s an inevitable part of the construction life-cycle — and can be a very profitable investment for those who know what they’re doing.

One particularly dramatic transformation of a “value-add” property is Yardley Crossing in suburban Philadelphia. Built in 1979, the 196-unit, 24-acre apartment complex was purchased by Relative Properties, in 2014.

I’ve had the unique opportunity to photograph Yardley Crossing twice — once in 2011 for a commercial real estate firm listing the property for sale, and again in 2015 for Paul Aschkenasy at Relative Properties, after its comprehensive makeover.

The clubhouse at Yardley Crossing was transformed into a stylish Craftsman-style multi-purpose space.
The clubhouse at Yardley Crossing was transformed into a stylish Craftsman-style multi-purpose space.
BEFORE: The old clubhouse, clad in “blah” white vinyl, was attracting no one with its outdated styling.
BEFORE: The old clubhouse, clad in “blah” white vinyl, was attracting no one with its outdated styling.

The property is nearly unrecognizable now. When I photographed it back in 2011, it was definitely showing its age — the finishes were outdated, the amenities unappealing, and structures were in need of repairs.

With a complete renovation and upgrades to the clubhouse, pool and surrounding common areas, as well as elegant and modern remodels of the unit interiors, Yardley Crossing is now able to market itself as a luxury apartment and townhome community.

Modern, upscale finishes in the newly renovated units appeal to more upscale tenants.
Modern, upscale finishes in the newly renovated units appeal to more upscale tenants.
BEFORE: Outdated “builder-grade” finishes had no personality or warmth.
BEFORE: Outdated “builder-grade” finishes had no personality or warmth.

When photographing interiors, it makes all the difference to have a talented designer styling the spaces. For our shoot at Yardley Crossing, we collaborated with the fun and talented Lisa Furie . She brings great energy, stylish flair and a thoughtful eye to every project.

What a transformation!
What a transformation!

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