At just 29-years-old, Lebanon City native and real-estate developer Noah Starry is shaking up his local community by doing things differently.
While many developers and real-estate brokers may look at Lebanon city as a place where they can make a profit (all the while staying out of the public’s view), Noah has a different approach. He believes that the best way to grow his business is to be visible and actively help grow the community around him.
Growing up, Noah has lived and breathed the Lebanon city culture. He was born on the “Southside” of town, graduated through the Lebanon City School district, played on the Lebanon Biddy Basketball Team, and while in 5th grade, started his first business with friends Alex and Adam Kuhn called “Kuhn Star Card Shop.”
Initially, after graduating, Noah started studying business at Lebanon Valley College, but ultimately later made the decision to switch his field of focus and pursued a certificate in electrical systems at Thaddeus Stevens in Lancaster, PA.
After completing his education, Noah, unlike many, decided to move back to Lebanon and begin working as an electrician in the city. However, drawing on his entrepreneurial spirit, Noah did not take long before starting his own electrical business called “Starry electric.”
In 2017, Noah made the choice to start investing in local real estate. Presented with the opportunity to buy his first property (a condemned house in the city), Noah jumped on it, making his first real-estate purchase for one dollar.
It took approximately a year and a half for Noah to renovate the house, doing the majority of the work himself (with some help from friends Brandon Deitz and Alex Luzon). Once the project was completed, Noah decided to continue pursuing work as a real-estate developer.
The process to start his contracting and development company was not quick. Before Noah decided to focus on real estate full time, he and his mentors wanted to make sure that he had what it took to be successful in the field.
Noah began his journey by purchasing different properties in other cities around Lebanon. His second property was located in Harrisburg, and since then, he has acquired additional properties here and there in the Lititz, Jonestown, and Palmyra areas.
Once Noah became comfortable working within the industry, he began focusing on Lebanon specifically, believing he had a duty to his hometown.
The 2021-2022 fiscal period was the first complete year Noah has been in business with his firm “StarrWar Properties LLC”, better known by its brand, “Ask4Noah.” To date, Noah has renovated and flipped 40 properties and has between 30-40 rental units depending on the time of year.
A key element of Noah’s business is his visibility. “I brand it because I back it,” Noah said.
What really sets Noah apart from most other real-estate developers in the Lebanon area is his attention to detail and commitment to quality. While many developers renovate properties to the bare minimum standard, Noah believes that the only way to help Lebanon City grow is to change the way we view ourselves fundamentally, and quality living is key to that.
Noah’s philosophy is that if we as a city have high-quality living options, we will draw in a new quality workforce, which in turn brings value and economic growth to our city.
The majority of the projects Noah has and is currently working on are located on the “Northside” of town. Noah believes that the “Northside” of Lebanon city is one of Lebanon’s most significant areas of opportunity.
Noah stands by this belief so much so that when he started his business, he chose to move back to the “Northside” of Lebanon City after living in Cornwall for several years.
“I choose to live in the city,” Noah said.
Over the last year, Noah’s firm has spent over one million dollars on renovations, and they intend to continue scaling those numbers up.
Noah also has a people-centric focus. He believes that he is in the business of improving lives, not disrupting them. Whenever his group purchases a building that currently has tenants, instead of evicting the people who live there so they can begin work immediately, Noah works to ensure that they are able to find new suitable accommodations; either working as a middle man between them and a new landlord or fronting them money upfront to find a new place to live.
Working in Lebanon City as a developer has not been without its frustrations and hurdles for Noah. He said that “people have a negative perception of this area, and they fear change.”
Noah also said that one of the biggest struggles he has had working in the city has been navigating through a plethora of restrictive and simply outdated ordinances and zoning codes that no longer represent how Lebanon City works today. In fact, he also believes that Lebanon is currently struggling with something of an identity crisis.
“Lebanon businesses, community, government, etc… do not know who we are,” he said.
Noah believes that one of Lebanon’s most pressing issues is that we cannot house all the people who live here right now. “Lebanon is one of the fastest-growing cities,” Noah said, a statement that is backed by the fact that Lebanon county grew by a whopping 6% according to the last U.S. Census.
Despite the challenges, Noah remains optimistic; he said that Lebanon is “a place where you can grow,” and he also said, “Lebanon has always been an underdog, and who doesn’t want to root for the underdog?”
While the job of making Lebanon City a better place is not going to be achieved overnight, Noah has set out to do his part to focus on gradually bringing value and hope to a city he loves so dearly. He believes one day Lebanon can become a central hub of activity in the region of Pennsylvania, and he hopes to be a part of making that vision a reality.