Manhattan, New York
How is your Hero working to make the world a better place?
Fred is a courageous, principled, genuine humanitarian. He purchased and then custom renovated portions of the "National Register of Historic Places" Grundy Industrial Complex and the time would literally have stood still if the 75-year-old [at that time] structure built in 1911 that dominated the Borough skyline as the centerpiece of the burgeoning revival effort in Bristol Borough hadn't received a $20,000 facelift, courtesy of the Bristol businessman, Fred Baumgarten. He recently donated the $1,004 restitution payment for the graffiti vandalism of his Grundy Commons commercial-industrial complex on Canal Street to the Grundy Foundation for the Community Learning Center at St. James Parish Hall. Fred is passionately involved as a Trustee in the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care & Rehabilitation in New Hyde Park. Their discharge rate is one of the highest of any geriatric facility in the country, implementing a new concept in a health care prototype institution for the aged, proving that it would not be the "last stop" for its patients. He does so many things well, in so many different spheres, and yet remains so humble, with a special talent for humor and friendship. Industrial leadership, historic preservation with retention of history and authenticity, civic pride and revitalization surges through the Borough with Fred's personal intervention. His vast expanse of the Grundy Commons is primed and ready to provide additional new sources of office, warehouse and distribution space for this former industrial town.
How has your Hero impacted your life and inspired you?
Leaders lead by example. Fred has given most generously for the improvement of the town and is dedicated to protecting the irreplaceable. Two of his three children, a son and a daughter are serving in the IDF in Israel. He stands to his word and is generous with everyone. Fred is highly respected by everyone as a principled gentleman whose faith and patriotism is inspirational and whose love of America, his heritage and his town is unquestioned.
What type of work does your Hero do?
Environment, Eldercare, Global Jewry, Israel, Jewish education, identity, and culture, Social justice
Old Bristol powerhouse to be turned into parking lot
By GEMA MARIA DUARTE Staff writer | Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 4:30 pm
Bristol has brokered a deal with a local business owner who plans to get rid of a dilapidated building that has been vacant for more than 50 years.
A historic 28,000-square-foot powerhouse property will be given to Fred Baumgarten, owner of Grundy Commons on Canal Street between Washington and Jefferson streets.
Baumgarten will pay the estimated $400,000 for the demolition of the building and turn the property into a parking lot with landscaping. The agreement will include a deed restriction stipulating that a parking lot is the only allowable use for the land, according to officials.
Bristol's council on Monday authorized the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority, which owns the property, to enter into an agreement with Baumgarten.
Bristol has a cooperative agreement with the RDA to get available properties developed. The borough has the last word on the properties' uses.
Before the council's vote on the agreement, Councilman David Girard suggested that the deal wait six months so he could market the property as “Free building. Bring your ideas.” That way others would have the opportunity to pitch development ideas to the borough.
Baumgarten, who was at the meeting, said he wouldn't wait six months.
The powerhouse, which abuts Baumgarten’s property, was used to power the borough's textile industry during the turn of the 20th century when the Delaware Canal was still in use.
“It’s a community eyesore,” Baumgarten said Tuesday, adding that he expected the demolition to take between two to three months. “It’s right on the gateway to Bristol. When people get off the (SEPTA) train one of the first things they see is the powerhouse.”
Bob White, executive director of the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority, agrees.
“It’s in deteriorating condition. Pieces are falling off,” he said Tuesday. “This deal is a win-win for everyone involved.”
The RDA has owned the property on and off for about 10 years. At one point, it was suggested that it be part of the Mercer Museum in Doylestown. Then, a condominium development was in the works, and the RDA sold the property to the housing developer for $200,000. But that plan fell through, so the borough bought it back.
“At the end it looks like we will be out $200,000,” White said, adding that to rehab the building could cost upwards of $5 million. “We could be out more than $500,000 if we tore it down. The only way that piece of land could be sold is by tearing down the building and that can cost $400,000. And if you sell it, that property won’t sell for what you’ve spent on tearing it down. Selling it for $200,000 to $250,000 is stretching it. It’s not even half an acre of ground.”
Baumgarten’s family rented space for a textile business at Grundy Commons in 1961. Then, in December 1981, Baumgarten bought Grundy Commons. He rents building space to more than 20 businesses from a ballet studio to an engineering firm.
He could use the extra parking.
Frederic [Fred] H. Baumgarten
Man for All Reasons
by Cate Murway
Success or failure is not a matter of luck, circumstances, fate, or any of the other tiresome old clichés. Those are only excuses. The power to achieve the life of your dreams is in your hands—and the first step toward activating it is identifying the specific goals that will make your dreams real. After all, it’s much easier to get what you want out of life when you know where you’re going.
Frederic [Fred] H. Baumgarten, Ramaz and Franklin Schools/George Washington University ‘71 /Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, is a principled man with enormous energy, a powerful personality with personal charisma and a towering intellect. He purchased and then custom renovated portions of the “National Register of Historic Places” Grundy Industrial Complex, 120,000 square feet of which Majestic Mills has rented since the 1960's. The complex, a half-hour drive northeast of Philadelphia, at the corner of Canal and Jefferson Streets is a 335,000-square-foot four-building former woolen mill and he has given it a regenerated life. These buildings were structurally very sound but functionally designed for a different era but he has made them relevant to the 21st century. Fred has provided a new source of fully sprinklered office, warehouse and distribution flex space with varying ceiling heights and panoramic views suitable for dimensions ranging in size from 2,000 square feet to more than 31,000 square feet, competitively priced. All spaces are serviced by freight elevators and have ground level access to tailgate loading docks. Office areas, some with spectacular views, have high-speed connectivity and could be used for call centers, customer service, back-office processing, shared office or any variety of other operations. The interconnected building complex surrounding a courtyard, upper levels are serviced by passenger elevators, is located across the street from the SEPTA regional rail line, within two miles of I-95 and less than a mile from PA Route 13.The convenience is unparalleled. The scenic Delaware Canal Park lies adjacent and the upper floors, entire 7th floor is surrounded by windows, provide some of the finest views in Lower Bucks County. A flagpole tops the signature trademark, a four-sided lighted clock tower. The impressive Grundy Commons is located within the Bristol Borough Enterprise Zone, offering special opportunities and incentives for companies locating in the Zone. Their primary mission is to provide the coordination and communication between the business community involved in industrial, manufacturing and export services and the public sector. Fortunately, there is still some space available!
Fred is “aggressively looking for tenants with whom he can partner into the future".
Originally built in 1876 by U.S. Senator Joseph Ridgway Grundy, a textile manufacturer as well as an industrialist and politician, so much of this structure exudes his tradition. Fred feels a “privilege and responsibility to maintain” the historically retained complex, preserving the history and preparing for the needs of today. A massive framed “Theorem [an early American Decorative Technique that dates back to the first half of the 19th century] Painting” on Majestic Mills fabric, which boasts a “Betsy Ross Flag” with the stars in a circle, commands one of the walls of the entrance to his office foyer.
His late parents, the founder and chairman of Majestic Mills, Inc., Harry W. Baumgarten, CCNY, The City College of New York, and Estelle [Pelikow], New Jersey College for Women that merged with Rutgers University, New Brunswick, met when Estelle assumed the position of bookkeeper for his dad’s textile company. Her brass lamps manufacturing business closed after Pearl Harbor, driven by wartime needs when there were scarce commodities of vital materials such as brass and bronze. He and his brother were raised and educated in New York. A familial fundamental moral principle, “Treat others as you would like them to treat you. Everything else is commentary” has been passed down generation to generation. Just as his family has been for the last ¾ of a century, Fred, with his pioneering spirit and unwavering commitment, is passionately involved as a Trustee in the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care & Rehabilitation in New Hyde Park. Their discharge rate is one of the highest of any geriatric facility in the country, implementing a new concept in a health care prototype institution for the aged, proving that it would not be the "last stop" for its patients. Its orientation is unique: rehabilitation, restoration, and return to the community, serving more than 7,000 patients each year. Unselfish spirit and “Patience is a virtue” Fred learned from his father and is passing on to his children, Political Science & Law major Harry, George Washington University, music lover Elisha Leah, Beeckman School and floor hockey athlete Jonathan, Ramaz School.
They are actively involved in their father’s business vision and will be working alongside him in the future.
He does so many things well, in so many different spheres, and yet remains so humble, with a special talent for humor and friendship. Fred is a courageous, principled, genuine humanitarian. He thinks the best of people and obviously wants the best for them. Everyone who meets or listens to him can understand this intuitively. Fred is benevolently donating the usage of his spacious seventh floor for the 6-week Bristol Riverside Theatre’s Summer Youth Camp, “Artrageous 2007”.
“There is no greater gift than giving a young person the permission and encouragement to believe in themselves.” Phyllis P. Slattery, Camp Director.
He is partnered with Robert G. [Rob] Loughery of the Keystone Redevelopment Group, LLC and their shared unified dream is to recreate “old run down businesses into crown jewels of the community”. The “Power House at Grundy Mills” goal is to complete the ultra modern luxurious condos next year that will grace the gateway to the Borough, rich in unique charm, free from the stresses of urban living. A ground-breaking collaboration along the Spur Line Park, a trail for biking, walking and jogging, pairs prestige and charm with luxurious ambiance, offering every modern convenience and amenity of a premiere loft condominium residence. “Bristol is hot!”
Fred’s all-time favorite film is “Man for All Seasons” based on the play of the same name about Sir Thomas More written by the late two-time Oscar winning English playwright/ screenwriter, Robert Oxton Bolt (1924 –1995). Keeping ethical principles in the forefront, he apparently agrees with More’s retort, "I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos." The play portrays More as a man of principle, envied by rivals and loved by the common people and by his family. More coined the word "utopia", (a play on the Greek ou-topos, meaning "no place", and eu-topos, meaning "good place"),a name he gave to an ideal, imaginary island nation whose political system he described in a book published in 1516.
Fred prefers the classical music that often aspires to communicate a transcendent quality of emotion, expressing something universal about the human condition. Simplicity and sophistication of the style of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 –1791) and Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678 –1741) are his preferred choices.
“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
Aldous Huxley, English critic & novelist [1894-1963]
America's #1 cable news network, CNN, that catapulted past the "big three" American networks rates high on his list, as well as staying informed while he is in transit with the downloaded MP3 version of the Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times, the largest metropolitan newspaper in the U.S. founded in 1851.
A Man for All Seasons struggles with ideas of identity and conscience, themes of individuality versus society as corrupt . Sir Thomas More argues repeatedly that a person is defined by his conscience.
Engaging in a business relationship on Fred’s terms, [he places great value on the attainment of harmony], has proven to be an enormously satisfying undertaking. He is a terrific partner in this waltz, and it is pretty clear that this “Man for All Reasons” will lead.
Frederic H. Baumgarten
The Grundy Commons
925 Canal Street
Bristol, PA 19007
Would you like your business spotlighted?
"chef" Jonathan w/ his dad at the 2009 Grundy Commons Tenant Appreciation Picnic
The highest form of wisdom is kindness.
"I wanted to take this money and invest it in the community's future, the youth," said Grundy Commons President Fred Baumgarten.
Fred donated the $1,004 restitution payment for the graffiti vandalism of his Grundy Commons commercial-industrial complex on Canal Street, part of the penalty imposed on the two Bristol Township men convicted of the crime, to the Grundy Foundation last month during a brief presentation at Bristol Borough Hall. This money and the remainder yet to be paid will go to the Community Learning Center at St. James Parish Hall.
Fred acknowledged Senator Joseph R. Grundy's example.
“If a man does not take pride in his own town, he isn’t likely to give a rap for his country.”
Joseph R. Grundy
from left, borough resident Cathy Petrino, Fred Baumgarten, Bristol police Chief Arnold Porter,
Fire-Policeman Merle Winslow, Grundy Foundation Director Eugene Williams