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Bush House Hotel Owner Looking to ‘Set the Record Straight’
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2022-05-25

            The owner of the Bush House Hotel in Quakertown wants the public to know his facility is clean and relatively safe. In March, Thomas Skiffington debuted a new website regarding the boarding house. He's also offering media tours of his property, located at 200 West Broad St..

            Skiffington, 55, a real estate agent who lives in Hilltown, claimed the vast majority of his tenants are constant. He said the facility provides much needed low-income housing.

            "There's a huge demographic of impacted people," he said.

            According to the property owner, the Bush House Hotel is nearly filled to capacity. Last week, he said only two of the 103 rooms remain unoccupied.

            During a May 18 tour, Skiffington displayed some renovations, which included replacing every door and community bathroom upgrades, completed since an April 2018 fire and the interior conditions of six rooms. The owner estimates that he's spent $300,000 since borough officials condemned the property late last year and $800,000 since the blaze – that killed one, injured four and displaced approximately 100 people – more than four years ago.

            "For more than 85 years, the boarding house has offered low-income housing to our community's poor, disabled, and elderly members," according to the website, which features the words "Setting the Record Straight" in large font at the top of the home page.

            Retirees make up a significant number of residents. Skiffington said others living in the three-story facility work at restaurants or other businesses in the borough. Single people and couples occupy most of the rooms. Some families live in an apartment house behind the facility.

            Residents pay approximately $250 per week, which covers all utilities, according to the property owner. He said some rents increased by $30 to $40 following the refurbishments.

            Skiffington claims there's not a lot of crime involving residents of the boarding house. He argued that 90 percent of the publicized crime involved incidents occurring near the facility.
"The tenants are good people, nice people," Skiffington said.

            During the last six months, the property owner claims to have prevented 12 to 15 applicants from renting rooms due to excessive criminal histories. Skiffington said he utilizes a background check to eliminate candidates with multiple drug and theft convictions.

            The owner, whose son runs the daily operations, says he is on site at least once or twice each week. Since the condemnation, Skiffington says he goes through every room to check on its cleanliness.

            At www.therealbushhouse.com, Quakertown officials are accused of waging unjust war against residents of the boarding house. The home page describes the borough's actions, which includes an accusation of holding a news conference to misrepresent the property's condition only to cast further shame on its residents, as "outrageous," "heartbreaking," and "Dickinsonian in scene and scheme." 

            Skiffington, the owner of MT Estate RTY LLC, located in Perkasie, claimed that he is invested in the community. His development in the borough extends beyond the boarding house, according to Jacqueline Tammaro, a senior account executive with Gregory FCA, a national PR firm based in Ardmore.

            Since purchasing the Globe Hotel – located at 101 East Broad Street – in 2003, he has remodeled every apartment. At 16 Belmont Avenue, Skiffington tore down a barn, apartments, and garage and built eight townhomes and three garages. He also razed a building, formerly owned by St Luke's, on Juniper Street and built 5 townhomes. His other work in the borough includes developing an office building on Route 309 and building three single family homes, according to an email message from Tammaro, who accompanied Skiffington on the tour.


 

 

 

 

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