Marian Moskowitz and her husband Dave moved to Chester County in January of 1984, so their children could attend the local public schools. They had a blended family with 5 kids coming and going and her father and her mother-in-law living with them. Life was busy as Marian was running a real estate development company, a cosmetic franchise, and helping manage 3 trucking and truck service companies.
As the years went on she realized how amazing Chester County is because it had something to offer each of her family members. The kids got a terrific education in the Tredyffrin School District which handled all their different learning needs. There was a wonderful senior daycare for her mother-in-law who had early stage Alzheimer’s and an abundance of activities and opportunities for family fun.
Marian first became involved with the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) in 2007 after she and Dave purchased an old manufacturing facility in Phoenixville which is now known as Franklin Commons.
“I invited Gary Smith, President and CEO of CCEDC to the site to see if there would be any funding available to help with the adaptive re-use of the building. The structure dates to 1903 when it was originally used as a silk mill, then a carpet manufacturing plant, then in the 70’s the Budd Company purchased it for a subsidiary company by the name of Polychem where it made water pumps. The building was in very bad shape and needed a great deal of work. It was not a small building by any stretch of the imagination as it was 223,000 square feet.”
She noted that Smith “was so sweet and patient throwing ideas out as only Gary can do.” “During our conversations,” she added “Gary explained the mission of the CCEDC which was to the help foster smart economic growth while preserving open space and our farms. “I liked the sound of that immediately.”
“It took us a year to clean and dismantle old equipment at Franklin Commons but by September of 2008 we had our first few tenants. I wanted this building to become a hub for education, after school activities and a family gathering place. And so, our first tenants were 2 day cares, Lansdale School of Business, Neumann University and a facility for children’s birthday parties. We were off to a good start when Gary Smith came back and was very surprised at the amount of progress we had made. He loved the idea of the building being renovated for this use and the creation of many jobs was an added bonus.”
Around 2010, Marian was invited to join CCEDC’s board of directors. “I was very excited because CCEDC helps build a stronger community throughout Chester County and the region,” she said. I am passionate about community-building, “she added “I believe that smart economic development can revitalize a community like it did in Phoenixville.”
Marian noted that “not only does CCEDC have a wonderful board but we also have an amazing staff who run the day to day programs and initiatives and who are continually working to increase impact in the community.”
Over the past ten years, Franklin Commons has grown to 240,000 square feet with a few additions along the way. In 2009, Franklin Commons became a condominium, so the tenants could have the option to purchase their space if they were successful.
Currently Marian and Dave own 55,000 square feet or 23% of the building and the balance of 185,000 square feet is owned by tenants. The building has created approximately 400 +/- jobs a bustling building with over 1200 people in and out on most days. In the entire facility, only one small 191 square foot office is available to rent.
In addition to her continued involvement in all her business ventures, Marian also serves as the vice-chair of the CCEDC board a position she also holds on the Seedcopa board. Seedcopa is an affiliate entity of CCEDC which facilitates small business lending.
In addition to serving on several other area boards, Marian is also the Secretary of the Council of Trustees of West Chester University, a member of the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania System of Higher Education, president of the Colonial Theatre, and a member of the Transportation Task Force in Phoenixville.
Marian’s goal is to continue to help improve Chester County in any way she can. “While this is one of the best counties to live in we still have community issues that need to be addressed such as the opioid crisis, lack of good transportation options, keeping our agricultural community financially healthy and addressing needs in communities that are working to revitalize,” She said.
“Chester County has been very good to me and my family in more ways than I can express, in return, I am trying very hard, with my volunteering and businesses, to do good for my county.”
Read Marion’s Chester County Leadership profile here.