In addition to the City of Allentown and the City of Bethlehem, the City of Easton is preparing for an influx of redevelopment projects, prompted in part through tax incentives for developers.
Among its future projects is the renovation of the Governor Wolf Building, which will house up to fifty high-end luxury apartments as well as potential commercial space. According to Mark Mulligan, principal of the developer, VM Development Group, LLC, the property’s location in a Keystone Opportunity Zone was the central impetus to committing to purchase the building and planning a significant rehabilitation effort for the project. Pennsylvania’s Keystone Opportunity Zone is a program offering various state and local tax incentives for redevelopment, which exempt the property and its occupants from certain business and earned income taxes for up to 10 years. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. VM Development Group has also partnered with the Easton Redevelopment Authority on another project in the City of Easton known as Silk (formerly the Simon Silk Mill) which is poised to leverage its location within a Keystone Opportunity Zone. Construction is underway on Simon Boulevard which will run through the property and connect 13th Street and Bushkill Drive, to be followed by several phases of commercial and residential development.
VM Development Group also plans to redevelop the Alpha Building which currently houses City Hall. According to the Easton Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the building has up to 8,000 square feet available and the City of Easton is actively seeking a suitable tenant to fill the prime location.
VM Development Group has a history of redevelopment projects in the City of Easton. One of its first projects in the area was the redevelopment of the Pomeroy Building on Northampton Street which has been renovated into a mixed-use facility containing 22 loft-style residential units. The building also currently houses two restaurants, Maxim’s 22 and Cheeburger Cheeburger. The developers bifurcated the building into two sections and added a courtyard in the center of the building.
According to Easton DCED director Gretchen Longenbach, Easton is focusing on attracting new residents to the area, as it will continue to work on residential projects in an effort to change the downtown area. As a part of this effort, the City is working to make a livable community with resident-friendly facilities. It expected that VM Development Group will continue its renovation projects in the City of Easton with an eye towards such livable communities.
Our firm works with both the City of Easton and the Redevelopment Authority routinely. If you have any questions or would like to know more, please contact a member of Norris McLaughlin’ Pennsylvania Economic Development Practice Group and we will be happy to assist you.