Groundbreaking Set For Reading Hotel And Convention Center

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Albert R. Boscov was excitedly making and receiving countless phone calls in his Exeter Township office Monday after getting word that the last of the financing for a downtown hotel and convention center was finally in place.

He immediately began making plans to break ground Friday at 11:30 a.m. in the 700 block of Penn Street across from the Santander Arena.

“It’s been a long wait but we got it,” Boscov said.

The renowned retailer has been working on the block-long, four-star hotel, which will cost at least $56 million, since 2007.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20131217/NEWS/312169896/1052#.UrDeuPRDsxI

Loans From Reading Sought For Downtown Hotel Project

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The long-planned Doubletree Convention Center Hotel downtown has hit a new snag, and its chief developer – retailer Albert R. Boscov – is asking the city for help.

Boscov told City Council and the administration Monday that the project has lost the $1 million commitment it was counting on from the Lancaster-based Community First Fund.

That fund last week announced it was giving $6 million in federal new markets tax credits to another city project – Shuman Development Co.’s plans for market-rate apartments in the old Big Mill outlets at Eighth and Oley streets – leaving none for the hotel.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=517591

Project Assures Penn Street A Project Visibly Brighter Future

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Penn Street is slated for $1 million in upgrades this summer that will include new and brighter streetlights from Second to Eighth streets.

It also will include replacing the gap-toothed crosswalks at Penn’s intersections with Second and Third, replacing the bouncy bricks with plastic grids like the crosswalk at Eighth and Penn.

Both projects will get underway at the same time, likely August or September, city Public Works Director Charles M. Jones said.

And he said both are funded by federal highway grants, not local tax money.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=483519

State Adds Extra Money To Reading Hotel Project

The long-planned 220-room Doubletree Convention Center Hotel on Penn Street has received a $500,000 bolster from the state.

The developers, led by retailer Albert R. Boscov, had applied for an additional $2.5 million state grant.

“The governor came in with $3 million,” Boscov said Thursday.

He said the project earlier had been approved for $14 million in grants from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, but the developers applied for more.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=466670

Blair County Representatives Visit Reading

If law enforcement leaders can lay out a clear-cut strategy to reduce drug and gang activity in Reading and Berks County, there is a good chance businesses will be willing to pay for some of it.

That was the feeling of Ellen T. Horan, president and CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry, on Thursday after she and other area leaders got a rundown of how a business-fueled crime-fighting program has succeeded in Blair County.

“In our community, it would be helpful to have the business community step up, if we developed some strategies and expected outcomes,” Horan said.

The nonprofit program, Operation Our Town, was started by business leaders in Blair County to help fund law enforcement and community efforts to stop young people from becoming criminals.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=454375

Reading City Council Approves Loan Tied To Hotel Project

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the request of retailer Albert R. Boscov, City Council on Monday approved adding a $1 million city loan to the financing package for the $59 million Doubletree Hotel that Boscov’s nonprofit agency is trying to bring downtown.

Boscov’s Our City Reading is planning the 200-room hotel to be built in the 700 block of Penn Street opposite the Sovereign Center.

The city loan would not come from local tax revenues but from federal funds – so-called Section 108 money – that the city gets to fund development projects.

Boscov’s nonprofit has borrowed millions of dollars in Section 108 funds in the past.  Boscov noted that it’s always paid off the loans early, never taking the allowed 20 years, and this year will make a $1.5 million early repayment of another Section 108 loan.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=434432

Boscov Asks Reading To Take $1 Million Loan For Proposed Hotel

Retailer Albert R. Boscov, whose nonprofit Our City Reading is trying to get financing for a four-star Doubletree Hotel along Penn Street, asked City Council on Monday to approve a $1 million federal loan as part of the package.

“If you can help us here, I promise you a hotel,” Boscov told council members.

Council is slated to vote on the deal Monday.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=432953

Sen. Bob Casey Jr.’s Letter to U.S. Attorney General Cites Reading’s Status As Dangerous Place, Cocaine Hub

English: Official photo of Senator Bob Casey (...

English: Official photo of Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note: Thank you Senator Casey! Cleaning up Reading will help Pottstown, which is the biggest victim of the drug traffic between Reading and Philadelphia! Bring on the big guns!!!!

Plans for a summit in August to identify strategies for fighting crime in Reading began moving forward Monday, when U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. urged Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to allow their staffs to figure out what role the federal government should play.

Casey said he expects Holder to respond within a few days.

Reading isn’t the only community facing crime-fighting challenges, but the problem seems to be more pronounced and showing a sharper trend than other communities, Casey said.

The federal, state and county governments need to help because the city can’t deal with it alone, he said.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=404941