J. Brian O’Neill brings city sensibility to suburban living with two new luxury properties.
The club lounge at the Royal Worthington in Malvern features a fireplace, pool tables, flat-screen TVs, and a surround-sound movie theater.
J. Brian O’Neill began sailing when he was just 12 years old. It’s a hobby that he still enjoys today, especially during summers on Cape Cod. So it’s no surprise that after a few decades navigating all kinds of waters along the East Coast, O’Neill has learned a thing or two about life. “You have to focus on staying the course,” says O’Neill, who started his eponymous company in 1988. “A five-degree deviation doesn’t seem very significant in the short term but, in the long term, it could send you to China,” he laughs.
Staying the course in real estate development has meant staying put in the western suburbs, which have the highest concentration of wealth in the area, according to O’Neill. His two latest projects are high-end residential buildings The Royal Worthington in Malvern and The Royal Athena, just over the Manayunk border in Lower Merion, O’Neill’s hometown. “So many people want to be in Center City these days, so this is a market that I can dominate,” he says.
The Royal Worthington’s pool area is equipped with a hot tub, grills, and cabanas.
Both luxury rentals, with amenities like screening rooms, private yoga studios, and cabana-lined pools, The Royal Athena and The Royal Worthington add a refreshing dose of city-level comfort to the suburbs.
“Young couples love living in the city, but once they get a little money and two kids, they want to be where I am building,” he says. And the same goes for the Baby Boomers, he adds.
“The new restaurants have taught them to eat out, so there is no need for a big dining area. They travel, so they want to keep less.”
For O’Neill Properties the year ahead is focused on Millennium 4, a mixed-use development coming to Conshohocken, slated to open in 2017.
Another benefit of being in the suburbs is the speed with which projects come together, he says. “It could be 10 years for a luxury building in Center City. People want their luxury now, and we are ready to give it to them.”