David Sereny and his wife, Diane, have been investing in Norristown’s future through revitalizing both residential and commercial buildings in Norristown. They established their real estate company, DMS Properties, in 1998 with a vision of targeting a specific area and creating a renaissance through buying properties in poor condition and renovating them for adaptive reuse. The area in which they concentrated was West Marshall Street, where David had grown up as a young boy.
David left his electrical engineering career and Diane left her job as a production coordinator a few years later to work on their vision in a full-time capacity.
Since David’s childhood in the 1960s, the area had fallen victim to social and economic ills. It didn’t help much to have two major malls only a few miles away drawing many of the shoppers from the area. Most store fronts were boarded up by the late ’90s, and the criminal element moved in.
The Serenys first move was to open an office on the beleaguered street and make a substantial investment to install a state of the art closed-circuit camera system to deter crime. One of many buildings on West Marshall Street that they purchased and renovated was a problematic bar, which they converted into a nice restaurant which is now a staple of the street.
Their vision included turning a second floor location, which was a former Social Security office, into a 10,000 square-foot mini-mall so fledgling stores could get a low-cost start. The mall boasts a large court yard area with games for the family along with two restaurants, a barber shop, nutritional store, and some specialty shops as well as hosting a flea market every weekend. The Serenys also felt it necessary to bring the arts to the area, so they converted an old factory space into artist studios. Many buildings were purchased over the last 15 years and boards were taking off the store fronts as they were converted back into viable businesses. Today West Marshall Street is once again a thriving shopping district.
“Our goal is to continue our efforts of turning West Marshall Street into the best destination it can be — a place to live, work, shop, and play.” Dave Sereny