Jefferson Apartment Group and Glackin Thomas Panzak

An Enduring Partnership: Jefferson Apartment Group and Glackin Thomas Panzak

Jefferson Apartment Group and Glackin Thomas Panzak

For more than 20 years, Jefferson Apartment Group (JAG) and Glackin Thomas Panzak (GTP) have fostered a remarkable partnership, collaborating on numerous projects that have left an indelible mark on the landscape of Southeastern Pennsylvania and beyond.

The relationship between JAG and GTP was built on a foundation of trust, creativity, and shared vision and remains a testament to the dedication and expertise of both teams. As GTP (which became an RGS Associates Company in 2021) prepares to complete the brand merger to RGS this summer, we’re excited to reflect on the legacy of this partnership for the prospects that lie ahead.

GTP’s collaboration with JAG includes several projects that have helped define their shared success. Over the years, their tandem has consistently pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in land planning and landscape architecture. As the GTP brand merges into RGS Associates, we look forward to witnessing the continued evolution of this partnership and more groundbreaking work to come.

The Genesis of the Connection

Drew Chapman of Jefferson Apartment Group
Drew Chapman

The JAG-GTP partnership began in the early 2000s when JAG Partner and Senior Vice President Drew Chapman first crossed paths with GTP founder Dennis Glackin on a development project in King of Prussia, PA. Drew, who was working on the land-use approval side of the project, connected with Dennis, who was working on the land planning side. Their work together laid the groundwork for a collaborative relationship between JAG and GTP that would span more than two decades.

About five years after that initial project, Dennis passed the torch to landscape architect and current RGS Associates Principal Chris Garrity, who then began working with Drew.

“We first started working together on the Jefferson Pointe project in West Chester,” Chris said. “That’s where we started getting more into the landscape architecture end of things.”

Since then, Chris and Drew have collaborated on a variety of projects, including the Reserve at Maybrook community in Wynnewood, PA, the recently completed J at Creekside development in Exton, PA, and a current project underway in Fort Washington, PA. Each new project has become increasingly complex but also increasingly rewarding.

Navigating Challenges and Achieving Success

RGS Chris Garrity, Glackin Thomas Panzak
Chris Garrity

The Jefferson Pointe project exemplifies the challenges and achievements JAG and GTP have experienced in their collaborations over the years.

“Jefferson Pointe was a challenging one because the landscape areas were so restricted,” Chris said. “We did not have a lot of open space to work with.”

The project involved two interior courtyards, but neither was particularly large, limiting the scope for landscaping and outdoor amenities. Despite these constraints, the team’s expertise and creative approach enabled them to make the most of the available space.

“I think it turned out really well for the canvas that was provided,” Drew said. “It wasn’t a very large property, but credit to Chris and his team—they really helped make it feel like it was larger than it truly was.”

This ability to maximize the potential of a space, regardless of its size or limitations, is a hallmark of GTP’s approach and a key factor in the success of their partnership with JAG.

A Canvas for Creativity

In stark contrast to the limitations of Jefferson Pointe, the Reserve at Maybrook community provided JAG and GTP with a much larger canvas.

“To me, the Maybrook community is the best designed and executed project of its kind in Pennsylvania, period,” Drew said. “It’s one of the highest valued suburban properties that, frankly, the state has ever seen.”

The ample space and resources available allowed GTP to showcase its full range of capabilities and push the boundaries of what was possible in landscape architecture.

“My whole mantra to the team was, ‘We need 10 things in this project that are different and that nobody else has to offer,’” Drew said. “There’s a Japanese garden, and at the front entrance, we have this amazing water feature that, in the winter, becomes a sculpture. We’ve got granite steps that lead out to a grand lawn. In my mind, it’s just amazing.”

The level of detail and design GTP brought to the project makes Maybrook one of Drew’s favorite projects, he said.

“I think Maybrook really stands alone,” Drew said. “And I didn’t even mention the pool deck. The pool deck’s amazing.”

Chris said the success of the Reserve at Maybrook underscores the importance of having the right environment necessary to fully realize a client’s vision.

“We had a little more room to work with,” Chris said with a chuckle. “And a lot fewer constraints.”

The Reserve at Maybrook received a 2023 Montgomery Award for zoning innovation, planning process, historic preservation, and site-sensitive design. The Montgomery Awards Program recognizes the best in planning, design, environmental sustainability, and advocacy in Montgomery County.

Building on a Legacy of Success

Images courtesy of Barton Partners

As JAG and GTP continue to collaborate on new projects, they build upon a legacy of successful partnerships that have stood the test of time. One such project currently underway is the 14-acre development in Fort Washington, PA. This one has more similarities to Jefferson Pointe than the Reserve at Maybrook.

“There are some constraints to work through there,” Chris said about the Fort Washington project. “But we’re getting through them and figuring out where the opportunities are. Our goal is to do what we did with Jefferson Pointe and turn these constraints into good, attractive amenities.”

Despite its challenges, Drew said he’s confident Chis and the team will deliver outstanding results.

“Frankly, it’s a hard project,” Drew said. “And, honestly, we all know that. It hasn’t been delivered yet, so we can’t really comment too much on it right now, but I will say we are all completely confident that the GTP team will help us overcome some of these challenges.”

The level of trust JAG has in GTP’s experience and expertise is a testament to the foundation upon which their relationship has been built, Drew said. It is why JAG has chosen to work with Chris and the GTP again and again.

“From where I sit, the interior design and the landscape architecture are the two showpieces of any development project,” Drew said. “We take particular pride in who we choose to work with in that regard, and frankly, after you have a certain level of confidence, it feels good to have that trust.”

With each new project, JAG and GTP continue to refine their collaborative process, leveraging their shared history and understanding to create innovative, engaging spaces that exceed expectations.

“There’s a lot more on the horizon,” Chris said. We’re looking forward to working with Drew and JAG for years to come.”

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After more than two years of strategic planning, the Glackin Thomas Panzak brand will officially become part of RGS Associates on July 9, 2024. Click here to learn more, and stay tuned for more information about this exciting unification of our brands.