Governor Wolf Highlights Economic Development Projects Revitalizing Easton

Governor Tom Wolf visited the city of Easton today to highlight millions of dollars of state investment in several economic development projects that are revitalizing once vacant and dilapidated properties.

“Like many communities across Pennsylvania, the City of Easton is working hard to turn unused space into thriving developments. Thanks to significant state investment, these projects create jobs, eliminate environmental risks and, when completed, will make the city an even better place to live, work, shop and enjoy, ”said the Governor Wolf. “I am happy to visit the city to highlight some of the important economic development projects that are underway.

The governor was joined by the mayor of Easton, Sal Panto, and other officials from the mill at Easton, a former industrial site that has undergone extensive redevelopment.

“Easton is honored to welcome our Governor,” Panto said. “He has been a great partner in providing grants for the revitalization of our city. ”

The City of Easton received an Industrial Site Reuse Program (ISRP) remediation grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and an ISRP Assessment Grant from DCED of $ 153,382 for construction work. Black Diamond Silk Mill 3.9 acre industrial site remediation.

Remediation efforts included removal of an underground storage tank, disposal of contaminated materials, sampling, analysis and reporting, asbestos contaminated material investigations and paint lead-based, the demolition of nine buildings and the removal and disposal of materials containing asbestos.

The city is working with PIRHL Developers, LLC and their partners, Stewart Silk Mill Redevelopment Partners and Easton Area Neighborhood Center, on the near-completed project, which includes a 55-unit affordable housing complex, a complementary community center and a playground. A second phase, which is being developed by Stewart Silk Mill’s redevelopment partners, Tim Harrison and the Robinson family, is being marketed for mixed uses including retail offices and medical practices / emergency care clinics. This second phase received a $ 2 million grant from the Redevelopment Assistance Program (RACP).

This project also received $ 13 million in grants from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), including $ 1 million in funding from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE) and federal housing tax credits. low-income people (LIHTC) generating approximately $ 12 million in equity. , as well as $ 25,000 from the Northampton County Affordable Housing Program. The site is in a DCED Keystone Opportunity Zone and Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Program.

“PHFA funded the Easton plant, which is taking a former industrial site and transforming it to provide housing for the much-needed workforce in the area,” said Robin Wiessmann, Executive Director and CEO of PHFA . “Projects like this not only create quality and affordable housing for local residents, but the entire community benefits from the economic activity that began on day one of construction and will continue throughout the life of the community. this new development.

“The Easton Mill is the epitome of what can be done, when all stakeholders, state, city and community come together to create meaningful change in a neighborhood and the residents who live there,” said said Lara Schwager, senior vice president of development. for PIRHL, which acts as a developer and general contractor. “What was once a ramshackle area with ramshackle industrial buildings and a former school is now transformed into a mixed income community and a brand new school that the community can celebrate. PIRHL is proud to be part of the revitalization of the South Side of Easton.

“The redevelopment of the Black Diamond Silk Mill is essential for Southside Easton,” State Senator Lisa Boscola said. “Transforming the old silk mill into a mixed-use development through the use of housing tax credits and RACP grants has made this ambitious project possible. I was proud to support him.

“The Mill at Easton is an important economic development project for the Easton community that addresses the significant need to provide affordable housing opportunities to residents at a time when the housing market has seen a significant increase in prices which makes extremely difficult to obtain accessible housing, ”said State Representative Bob Freeman. “I am pleased to have been able to help the Town of Easton secure state funding for this worthy project and appreciate Governor Wolf’s continued commitment to both the economic revitalization of our former communities and the need to promote affordable housing opportunities in our region. ”

Several other economic development projects in the city are currently underway and benefit from state funding:

Former Eastern Iron and Metal Site, 1100 Bushkill Drive. The city received an ISRP grant of $ 981,000 and a grant of $ 100,000 from the Blight Remediation Program for the demolition and environmental remediation of the old limestone quarry and scrap recycling facility and of metal. Plans for the site include linking the property to the main branch of the Karl Stirner Arts Trail through the rehabilitation or reconstruction of an existing railway trestle over Bushkill Creek. In addition, the reuse includes the development of 150 residential units, 25,000 square feet of commercial space, a proposed environmental center and an outdoor facility to host performances, classes, educational opportunities and improved accessibility to Bushkill Creek.

Parking garage, 185 S. Third St. The city received a RACP grant of $ 2.25 million for this project. The former vacant lot is being rehabilitated into a mixed-use development with 256 residential units, 20,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, a two-screen cinema and a podium parking garage. 180 spaces to make up for the lack of parking in the city for visitors and residents. In addition, a pedestrian bridge will connect residents and visitors to the Easton Transportation Center garage.

Parking garage, North Fourth St. The city received two RACP grants of $ 1 million. The site is being rehabilitated into a 505-space car park and a pedestrian square to make up for the lack of parking in the city.

Easton’s Commodore, Northampton Street and Larry Holmes Drive. The city received a RACP grant of $ 3 million and a Business Zone Tax Credit from the Neighborhood Assistance Program of $ 500,000. The old dilapidated building is being rehabilitated into a mixed-use facility, comprising apartments, offices, retail space and a restaurant.

Riverview Legacy, 136-142 S. Third St. The city received a RACP grant of $ 750,000 for this now completed space which includes 61,000 square feet of office space at the entrance to the city’s downtown core. The project included the modernization of a building that had been vacant for decades and is the largest block of Class A office space in the city. It was the first new office building in decades.

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