State Agency OKs Millions More In Loans For Projects In Downtown Reading

English: Downtown Reading, Pennsylvania; with ...

English: Downtown Reading, Pennsylvania; with Berks County courthouse on left; July 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A state agency has approved an extra $5 million in low-cost loans for new projects in downtown Reading, as well as an extra $1 million for the planned Doubletree Hotel on Penn Street.

The loans, sought months ago and already part of the hotel’s financing package, were formally approved today by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

Both packages will go through the Greater Berks Development Fund.

The $5 million will be available for as-yet-undetermined downtown projects, said Edward J. Swoyer, Greater Berks executive director.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=511616

Wilkes-Barre Gets Final Funding Needed To Raze Dilapidated Hotel Sterling By Early Summer

English: Hotel Sterling, Wilkes-Barre

English: Hotel Sterling, Wilkes-Barre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Demolition of the historic Hotel Sterling, once a grand city landmark that has fallen into disrepair and become a dangerous eyesore, should begin by late June to mid-July, the city has announced.

The city on Monday received an official release of about $400,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that is the final piece of funding needed to cover demolition.  The city will advertise for demolition bids this week, city Municipal Affairs Manager Drew McLaughlin said.

The funding is a portion of the city’s annual Community Development Block Grant allocation from HUD for removal of blighted properties.

“We are nearing the final stages of this demolition,” Mayor Tom Leighton said in a prepared statement.  “This has been a top priority since the flooding of 2011.  We all look forward to the day when the public safety threat has been addressed and the detour in downtown Wilkes-Barre is lifted.”

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/511398/Sterling-demo-date-edges-closer

South Side Site Becoming Pittsburgh’s Second Compressed Natural Gas Station

English: Symbol used for vehicles powered by c...

English: Symbol used for vehicles powered by compressed natural gas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A former Exxon station in Station Square is becoming the city’s second compressed natural gas station with the help of state funding announced this week.

The station, located near the T station at the edge of the Smithfield Street Bridge, is currently under construction.  It will be owned by Desdemona Holdings LP and operate under the American Natural Retail brand.

Desdemona Holdings received a $372,300 grant and $248,200 loan to help complete the project.  Desdemona is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cleopatra Resources LLC, a New York-based energy company with local offices near Homestead.

A timetable for completion was not given.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/south-side-site-becoming-citys-second-cng-station-687147/#ixzz2T04Iwgfq

Funds Sought To Restore Wilkes-Barre Irem Temple

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE – The 107-year-old Irem Temple building, a historic landmark on North Franklin Street, once was Wilkes-Barre‘s primary public performance venue.

Today, the once-grand building has fallen into disrepair and has no heat, lights or electricity.  But city and chamber officials are trying to save it.

During a tour by flashlight Wednesday, Ross Macarty, vice president of community development, real estate and special projects for the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry, showed that water damage has taken a toll on the deteriorating building and thieves have stolen copper and brass inside over the past two months.

The Greater Wilkes-Barre Development Corp., an arm of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry, bought the building in 2005 for $992,000, using a combination of federal, state and chamber funds.  The chamber and city are seeking $2.4 million in state gaming funds to bring the building up to code and return it to use.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/funds-sought-to-restore-wilkes-barre-irem-temple-1.1434055