Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pohlig Builders - Then and Now

The "Don and Todd" Story

The brothers Pohlig, Todd and Don, bring to life the great American tale of "local boys make good."  Both graduated from Monsignor Bonner High School, with Todd joining the Army upon graduation from Villanova University.  Don, the younger, had such a hunger to work that he went to work with John Falcone’s house framing company on the day of his high school graduation (instead of going to the ceremony!)  He soon started his own framing company and built challenging contemporary houses instead of the "boxes" of that day.  Todd dreamed up Pohlig Builders when he was in the Army, returned home and started the company in late 1974.

Don and Todd Pohlig were teammates early on (1960)

Don Pohlig (1963) "Most likely to succeed"

Lou Fanelli and Bill Harley of Fanelli-Harley & Company Real Estate in Paoli rented Todd a desk (and acquired the telephone number: 610-647-4700 that the company uses to this day!)  The rest is history!  Todd had worked summers for Fanelli during his school years, liked the business and wanted to be in Lou’s position as a builder interacting with clients.

Don and Todd Pohlig in 1990

In the Spring of 1976, at the Howard Johnson’s in King of Prussia, Todd and Don agreed to join together as Pohlig Builders.  They moved the office into a back bedroom of parents Harry and Mary Pohlig’s home. 

Todd and Don’s father, Harry Pohlig, believed in them tremendously and his help in growing the business was immeasurable.  In the 1960's one of Harry’s hobbies was tinkering with HiFi kits.  Every bedroom had a speaker and the young Pohligs awoke to subtle messages filling their minds with The Power of Positive Thinking.  Harry was truly ahead of his time – he is to this day a Great Thinker and continues to provide points to consider.  The Pohligs attribute this positive influence as one of their biggest edges in business – don’t underestimate the power of positive thinking.

Todd and Don Pohlig (1992)

In these early years, they built contemporary houses one at a time on leftover lots Harry Pohlig found.  Money was an issue as Todd’s Army savings were quickly used up.  Perhaps if he had known how much money was needed for such a venture, he might not have pursued his dream.  Early investors (Harry’s friends) Bill Andrews of Andrews Pinkstone Real Estate and Sue LeBoutillier Epps of Andrews Dickenson Pinkstone Real Estate put up joint-venture money on a house-by-house basis.

One of the Pohlig brothers' early contemporary homes

Things changed in 1980 when they built their first high-end custom home, a brick Georgian Colonial for the Batchelors in Charlestown Township for $240,000!  They began a series of projects involving multiple lots and moved from contemporaries and townhouses to more traditional homes.  A valuable lesson came swiftly as the economy changed and interest rates soared.  Financing almost fell through for The Enclave at Woodsworth – all parties were present for the signing of the agreement, but the check was written on a bank that had just merged with another, and no longer existed!!  The lesson – always have alternate financing!

Todd and Don were living off the proceeds from each house and as work slowed, it was time for another "turning point" life lesson!  Change was needed and things were topsy turvy for a while as the Pohlig brothers once again re-invented themselves.  Don and his wife Dot rented their home and moved to Florida to partner with Brian Forcine to run a concrete business as a supplement to home building.  Things just did not work out there and they soon moved back to the Main Line, moving in with Todd and wife Barbara, for a time testing personal credit and extended family closeness.  Never wavering on their commitment to the business, the storm was weathered with all three company employees available for the next gale.

Now as the business really grew, they learned to retain earnings as security during unpredictable dry periods.  They looked at the business as a true business.  They established an outside Board of Directors and joined the HBA of Chester and Delaware Counties and the National Homebuilders Association.  It has always been a Pohlig belief that a company's growth is dependent on the contributions of each employee. 

Don and Todd Pohlig in 1999

In 1983 they built and moved their offices to Pohlig’s current location: 274 Lancaster Avenue in Malvern, PA.  Pohlig was looking for a contractor to pave a house driveway and they pulled a name right out of the Yellow Pages:  Griffith & De Cola Paving Contractors – they paved driveways for Pohlig and over time built a rapport with one another.  Sterling Griffith offered them the opportunity to purchase the ground on Lancaster Avenue.  It was zoned residential and it was Todd's first experience in getting a Zoning Change – to Commercial.  It is amazing how this chance encounter – a name out of the Yellow Pages – brought them the property which has been the company's home ever since.

The land acquired in 1983 at 274 Lancaster Avenue in Malvern, PA is still home to Pohlig Builders today

In 1997, another defining moment came for Pohlig Builders as they won the American's Best Custom Builder award presented by the National Association of Home Builders.  They continued their success winning numerous awards along the way for several of their custom homes over the years.  Their name has become synonymous with quality on the Main Line of Philadelphia.

Pohlig Builders was presented the 1997 America's Best Custom Builder Award

The Pohlig brothers continue to evolve and expand their portfolio and in 2008 launched their new type of project that they had not previously attempted.  Todd Pohlig did his research and gathered information, determining that the baby boomers on the Main Line wanted a simpler, care-free lifestyle.  After years of planning and partnering with The Goldenberg Group in acquiring the land that the previous Haverford State Hospital was situated on, the Pohlig brothers broke ground on the Athertyn project, a 55+ lifestyle condominium community located in Haverford Reserve that would provide baby boomers all of the amenities in a maintenance-free environment. 

Don, Harry, and Todd Pohlig at the ribbon cutting ceremony of Athertyn at Haverford Reserve 2009

The Pohligs managed to blend condominium living with the luxurious award winning style of their custom homes.

The first condominium building of Athertyn at Haverford Reserve

Today Pohlig is over 25 employees strong.  The Pohlig story has been an authentic "American Dream" these thirty-seven years. 

"Thanks to all who have worked with us along our journey." – The Pohlig team June 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Athertyn Broker's Open

Join us for the Broker’s Open at Athertyn at Haverford Reserve call 610-252-5110 or visit

On Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 the doors of the Athertyn Sales and Design Center will be open to realtors who wish to participate in the Athertyn Broker’s Open. 

The tour will begin in the Athertyn Sales and Design Center where visitors have the opportunity to look at all the floor plans and the extensive array of options available to personalize the homes at Athertyn.  Then, tour the designer homes offered in the closeout sale of Building 5000.  These designer homes are being sold at a base price with all of the spectacular upgrades included!!

The 55+ lifestyle community of Athertyn at Haverford Reserve features all of the amenities that a homeowner could want!

Guests will then tour the Athertyn residents' clubhouse and all of its amenities including great room, executive style meeting room, bar, game room, recreation area, state-of-the-art high definition golf simulator, putting green, tennis court and pool.

Afterwards all will be treated to a poolside luncheon provided by Mediterranean Catering.  The open will begin at noon on Tuesday, August 9th 2011 in the Athertyn Sales and Design Center and go on until 3pm.

For more information call 610-525-5110 or visit us on-line at

The main entrance of Athertyn at Haverford Reserve leads to the clubhouse and Building 5000 where the Sales and Design Center is located.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Athertyn Gardens Give Homeowners the Opportunity to Pursue Outdoor Hobbies in a Condominium Setting

When the 55+ lifestyle community of Athertyn was being constructed on the grounds of the Haverford Reserve, a portion of the surrounding open space was preserved to allow residents to pursue their hobby of gardening.  The developers of the property, the Pohlig organization, recognized that many homeowners do not wish to give up some of their outdoor hobbies when moving from a single family home to a lifestyle community, so they created  the Athertyn Gardens.

The Athertyn Gardens of Athertyn at Haverford Reserve is divided into plots which can be claimed by the homeowners

Approximately 3900 square feet of land was fenced in and divided into plots to be claimed by the residents of Athertyn who desire to grow vegetables and/or flowers of their choosing.  This area provides homeowners with the space they need for pursuing their passion of gardening.

Some residents of Athertyn at Haverford Reserve choose to grow flowers in Athertyn Gardens

Athertyn at Haverford Reserve was designed for people with active lifestyles who do not want to give up their daily pursuits such as hiking, biking, tennis, swimming, gardening, and indoor exercising as well.  All of these activities and more can be enjoyed at Athertyn and the surrounding Haverford Reserve Park with over 5 miles of trails and 120 acres of open space. 

Some residents of Athertyn at Haverford Reserve choose to grow vegetables in Athertyn Gardens

The Athertyn clubhouse provides the amenities mentioned above including a putting green, an executive style meeting room, a great room, bar, billiard area, a game room for enjoying a game of bridge with friends, and a multi-use room that has a state of the art high definition golf simulator and the room also is used for yoga classes.

For more information on Athertyn at Haverford Reserve, visit

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Freedom Playground 3rd Annual Touch-a-Truck Event

Freedom Playground at Haverford Reserve will be hosting their 3rd annual Touch-a-Truck event

On Saturday July 30th, 2011 10:00am - 2:00pm the Freedom Playground at Haverford Reserve will be hosting their 3rd annual Touch-a-Truck program.   This event allows children of all ages to get an up close and personal experience with fire trucks, construction vehicles, trash trucks, tow trucks, police cars, ambulances, a school bus, and motorcycles!

There will also be a bounce house for the kid’s enjoyment as well as a “non-touch” display of antique automobiles.   Food, snacks, and drink will be available for purchase as well.

The Freedom Playground at Haverford Reserve is a fun place for children and adults of all abilities

The Freedom Playground is hoping folks will please come out and help support the fundraising efforts of the playground which is still not quite complete!  The admission cost is $20 per car/family or $5 per person. They will also be selling fund raiser items such as T-shirts, brick pavers, fence posts, and hand tiles to commemorate contributions to the Freedom Playground.

You can "register" for the event on the 3rd Annual Touch-a-Truck Facebook event page or learn more about the playground at this link Freedom Playground or just drop on in on Saturday the 30th from 10am to 2pm!  Additional designated parking will be available nearby at Athertyn at Haverford Reserve.

Note: This event had been scheduled for July 23, but was rescheduled due to the excessive heat forecast.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Condos are Coming Into Their Own - Shifting Lifestyles Lead to Care-Free Living

News from the NAHB:

No longer considered just a second-choice option for home buyers who can’t afford a house, condominiums are giving the single-family home a run for its money as the primary preference for many new home buyers.

Shifting Lifestyles

Changing lifestyles of Americans are often cited as the reason there are many more home buyers than ever before choosing condominium units over houses. The U.S. Census Bureau saw a decline in the proportion of married-couple households with their own children from 40 percent of all households in 1970 to 23 percent in 2003.

Demographics that are on the increase include single professionals, divorcees, partners without children and active retirees. Buyers who no longer need to factor in a yard or school district when they choose a home are not restricting themselves to traditional housing options.

Condo Myths Debunked

Also helping to increase growth in the condominium market is the collapse of the myth that they are inferior in construction, with thin walls and low-grade carpet. Today’s new condos often have gourmet kitchens with top-notch appliances and come standard with high-end materials such as cherry wood floors and cabinets and granite or marble counters and vanity tops.

Another advance in condo development is the increased focus on sound-proofing units so a condo owner may be living in a building with hundreds of other people, but feel that they are in their own private, quiet oasis. Builders are combating noise issues by increasing the amount of drywall or using concrete or brick between units.

Architects are helping reduce noise impact by designing buildings so that bedrooms in one unit do not share a wall with a higher-noise room such as a kitchen or laundry in the adjoining unit.

Windows are also most often the way that noise travels in and out of rooms. To ease this frustration, builders may install double-paned windows with a high Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating which usually falls between 28 and 35 (single-paned windows have a STC rating of 20).

Hassle-Free, Convenient Living

Homeowners who enjoy the outdoors but don’t have the time or interest in maintaining a big yard find the perfect balance with green spaces on roofs and terraces of condominium buildings. Condo developments may also provide lifestyle-friendly features such as swimming pools and fitness centers and quick access to restaurants, stores and cultural events without the need for a car.

Condo living is no longer just for big cities like New York and Los Angeles, either. The condo trend is growing all over the country, including secondary markets like St. Louis and Minneapolis.

When you are making the decision to buy a new home, don’t count out a condominium. Your options will open up and you may find yourself enjoying this different way of life!

For more information on condominium developments in your area, contact your local home builders association at

Monday, July 18, 2011

Historic Highlight: Habitat for Humanity 2001

A "Blitz Build" held in November of 2001 brought together more than 165 volunteers who collectively provided labor, material, and cash contributions to construct twin homes for Habitat for Humanity.  Pohlig Builders helped organize this project as well as contributing their expertise, time and labor.  Todd Pohlig was co-chairman of the Habitat for Humanity Subcommittee. 

Todd Pohlig of Pohlig Builders served as co-chairman of the Habitat for Humanity subcommittee and participated in the event as well

To further benefit the cause, the Home Builders Association of Chester and Delaware Counties (HBA) presented a $7,500 check to the organization.  The event was the largest community service project in the 23-year history of the HBA.  

The "Blitz Build" team raises a wall on a new home during the 2001 Habitat for Humanity event hosted by the Home Builders Association of Chester and Delaware Counties

For more information on home building topics or membership opportunities, call the HBA at (610) 692 – 7733 or visit or

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Taking Fitness to Another Level - Brain Fitness

Whoever said games were just for children were clearly mistaken, because Penny Wilson, owner of Nognz brain-fitness store, is here to tell you otherwise with her line of games and software designed specifically for the adults of today. Penny says, “I think it’s really important to make people aware that what science used to tell us is as you age, your brain slowly degenerates, but in the last 10 years, they’ve proven no- you can rebuild your brain just like you can rebuild other muscles in your body.”

Penny Wilson , owner of Nognz brain fitness store.  Photo by The Vancouver Sun

Undoubtedly, this concept of “brain fitness” is a new terminology to our world, but it’s one of great significance, especially to those baby boomers seeking to continue their active and dynamic lifestyle in the future. By pushing your brain to its uppermost limits through different exercises and games, you can help your mental health reach its fullest potential and create a “stronger neural network” less susceptible to disease and damage.

Nognz brain fitness flagship store in West Vancouver, British Columbia

Just as people commit to physical fitness routine at the gym, people such as Penny Wilson are asking you to take into consideration your mental fitness routine. It’s not just about playing games; it’s about making a lifestyle change- a commitment to make time for your brain. As Wilson describes, “don’t just limit yourself to games and puzzles. Creating a healthy brain also requires good physical fitness and nutrition, stress management and socialization”, she said. “Stress actually kills your brain cells.”

The good news for you empty nesters out there? Organizations like Pohlig have established lifestyle communities, such as their Athertyn at Haverford Reserve, designed to provide you with exactly that type of environment Penny Wilson was describing. Through Athertyn’s simplified, maintenance-free lifestyle, homeowners can enjoy maintaining their dynamic way of life in a stress-free environment, while pursuing those activities that they enjoy and that feed their body the fuel that it needs. Athertyn residents participate as active members of their community by partaking in various brain and physical fitness hobbies, such as their bridge-playing groups, weekly yoga classes at their clubhouse, and even their book clubs. Athertyn provides baby boomers with the perfect opportunity to create that healthy lifestyle and routine for improving the quality and condition of their well-being.

Athertyn at Haverford Reserve features a community game room (shown here on the right) so the residents may enjoy doing puzzles or a good game of bridge or backgammon.

Learn more about Nognz by visiting their web site at

Friday, July 8, 2011

People In Action - Todd Pohlig

Todd Pohlig is one of the Principals at Pohlig Builders

Todd Pohlig is a Civil Engineer with over 30 years experience as a local builder of Custom Homes & Communities.  Combining significant local and state involvement in the environmental aspects of site development and his interest in pre-1940 Main Line architecture has led to an overwhelming acceptance of his ideas from both the existing community and the new home marketplace.  He received his B.S. in Civil Engineering at Villanova University in 1972 and is one of the Principals at Pohlig Builders of Malvern, PA.

Todd is the past president of both the Main Line Builders Association and the Home Builders Association of Chester and Delaware Counties.  He is currently an active member of both associations and the Pennsylvania Builder Association.  He is a speaker on the Home Building industry at the national, regional and local levels.

Todd has been active over the years in participating in Habitat for Humanity.  He picks up a hammer helping build homes for those in need in Chester and Delaware Counties whenever Habitat for Humanity rolls into action. 

Todd Pohlig enjoys lending a had to others participating in Habitat for Humanity whenever they roll into action and put up a home for those in need

In his spare time, Todd plays the drums in the band "Blue Sky", a five-piece group (rhythm and lead guitars, bass, keyboard, and drums) which plays classic and popular rock.  Check them out at the Berwyn Tavern and 'down the shore'.  Visit them at their Facebook page

Todd Pohlig plays drums in the classic rock band Blue Sky

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Love and Longevity

When motivational business speaker, Harvey MacKay once said “find something you love to do and you’ll never have work a day in your life, “ he wasn’t just talking about your occupation.  He was also talking about your way of life.

Doing the things you love to do is essential to long life

Admit it – we all get tied down by the typical responsibilities and tasks we face each day, in the office and at home.  But who’s to say we shouldn’t take more time out of our daily routine to indulge in those pleasures and hobbies that we truly love.  Well organizations, such as the National Institute on Aging, are conducting research to prove just that – that we should enjoy those pleasures more often.  The benefits of this commitment don’t just promise happiness and joy, surprisingly enough they also ensure you a much longer life as well.

According to the study, “people who are involved in hobbies and other social and leisure pursuits may be at lower risk for (and less likely to develop) some health problems, including dementia.  They might even live longer.  In one study, older adults who reported participating in social activities or meaningful, productive activities  lived longer than people who did not.”

The hiking and biking trails at Athertyn at Haverford Reserve provides for an active lifestyle

It’s not just about living an active lifestyle; it’s about having a purpose – a reason to wake up every morning driven and assured.   So listen up you 77 million baby boomers out there, because this one goes out to you.  It’s time for you to make that effort to create a lifestyle tailored around the activities that you enjoy and love.  Get rid of all the petty stressors in your life, and truly just make time for you.

No doubt about it, Don and Todd Pohlig definitely hear me loud and clear on this one.  With the recent establishment of their lifestyle community, Athertyn at Haverford Reserve, Pohlig has provided empty nesters with the right environment for indulging in life’s everyday pleasures, such as gardening, card games, dinner clubs, and so much more.  Athertyn holds true that promise of happiness, joy, and longevity.  

Athertyn at Haverford Reserve will simplify your life and allow you to continue to do the things you love

As Todd Pohlig describes it “Our buyers are an extremely active group.  Athertyn gives them the chance to spend more time on the activities that interest them and to stop worrying about home maintenance and chores.”  Through Athertyn’s Resident’s Clubhouse with fitness center, pool, tennis court, and miles of nature trails surrounded by more than 120 acres of preserved open space, Pohlig has definitely guaranteed baby boomers that genuine opportunity of the pursuit of happiness.