Apartments Coming To York City’s Square Under Revitalization Project

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

Dozens of market-rate apartments are heading for downtown York as part of a multimillion dollar overhaul of a prominent historic building that developers say has been under-utilized for years.

Developer David Yohn is planning the renovation 1 Marketway West, which would include building an underground parking garage for residents, York County Commissioners said Wednesday.

The county owns the building, but Yohn Property Management has a $1.3 million purchase contract. Commissioners on Wednesday approved an agreement in which the county moves from first lien position to second lien position, which means the county would be second to get its money if Yohn defaults on a $4 million loan from Fulton Bank, said county solicitor Mike Flannelly.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_25896098/apartments-coming-york-citys-square-under-revitatlization-project?source=most_viewed

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Pottstown School Board To Vote On $125K Electrical Outlet Upgrade

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — The Pottstown School Board’s facilities committee will ask the full board to spend about $125,000 to install an additional 263 outlets in classrooms at Barth Elementary School, the renovation of which was just completed in September.

The much-debated change-order will also replace seven “1950s-era” electrical panels with three modern ones, said Facilities Director Robert Kripplebauer, who made the recommendation.

The outlet changes were requested by teachers, who do not believe the older outlets in the building are adequate or in the right locations. Further, they are not comparable with the more modern outlets that will be in the renovated rooms at Lincoln, Rupert and Franklin elementary schools.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140415/pottstown-school-board-to-vote-on-125k-electrical-outlet-upgrade

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South Hills Village Mall To Get Major Makeover

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

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

South Hills Village mall will undergo a multimillion-dollar renovation as part of its owner’s plan to spruce up some of its shopping centers — to the tune of $3 billion — through 2016, an official said.

“We’re very focused on making our malls completely up-to-date and with the latest customer amenities, and giving our customers the best experience in which to shop and dine and be entertained,” Les Morris, spokesman for Simon Property Group Inc., said on Thursday.

The recession hurt shopping centers nationwide, so retail property owners have been upgrading malls rather than building more of them, said Jesse Tron, spokesman for the International Council of Shopping Centers in New York.

“I think 2014 will remain more about redevelopment, as opposed to new development,” he said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/5505569-74/mall-renovation-hills#ixzz2rzxz0IyU
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Dingy LaGuardia Airport To Undergo $3.6 Billion Makeover

An aerial view of LaGuardia Airport

An aerial view of LaGuardia Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW YORK — Dark, dingy, cramped and sad. These are some of the ways travelers describe LaGuardia Airport, a bustling hub often ranked in customer satisfaction surveys as the worst in America.

“It does not represent what people think of when they think of New York and Broadway shows and glamour. It’s not very pretty,” said Layla House, a sales manager for a medical supply company who travels from her home in Bullard, Texas, to New York at least six times a year.

That’s about to change.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced the state is taking control of an ambitious $3.6 billion construction project that envisions a new central terminal at LaGuardia, with vast open spaces, restaurants, shopping plazas, new parking garages, free Wi-Fi and other amenities now common in other airports. Cuomo wants to develop a plan to upgrade cargo operations at nearby John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/5448305-74/laguardia-york-airport#ixzz2qxotiKau
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With Financing Woes Resolved, Construction Begins At Allentown’s Schoen’s Building

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With its financing woes behind it, construction began today on the $9.8 million renovation of the former Schoen’s Furniture Store in Allentown.

The 612 W. Hamilton St. structure has now been dubbed the Trifecta Building after its primary tenant, Trifecta Technologies, the software firm that will occupy the top three of the building’s six floors.

During an open house and construction launch party today, Trifecta founder and CEO Doug Pelletier expressed excitement about being part of the City Center neighborhood’s ongoing revitalization.

“We’re coming downtown, and we’re not just coming here to work,” Pelletier said. “We’re going to drink in your bars, we’re going to eat in your restaurants, we’re going to cheer at the arena. That’s what we love about coming here.”

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2013/11/with_financing_woes_resolved_c.html

Pottstown Elementary Costs Rising By $2M, $10M Borrowing Set For Monday

POTTSTOWN — As the Pottstown school board prepares to borrow the second $10 million needed for the renovation and expansion of its elementary schools, it is doing so in the face of $2 million or more in change orders and additional costs.

As The Mercury reported in May, the renovation work on Barth Elementary School was well underway when the school board was told the cost of a new roof was not included in the project — an additional cost estimated at another $665,000.

In August, The Mercury reported that wiring for new computer and data systems were not included in the bid for the renovation of Franklin, Lincoln and Rupert elementary schools — an additional cost of an estimated $375,000.

On Thursday night the full board was informed that the cost for additional electrical outlets, boxes, panel boards and the replacement of old wiring at the three schools has added another $388,601 to the price of the projects.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/social-affairs/20131020/pottstown-elementary-costs-rising-by-2m-10m-borrowing-set-for-monday

Renovations Will Turn Albright College Building Into Class Act

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

Albright College will embark on the first step of a master plan as it begins multimillion-dollar renovations to the Rockland Professional Center this summer.

College officials plan to transform the office building at 13th and Rockland streets into a modern hub for its accounting, political science, economics and business departments.

Provost Andrea Chapdelaine said the move is all part of the master plan developed for the college in 2008 called “That Their Light May Shine: The Campaign for Albright College.”

The college experienced significant growth in the early 2000s, reaching its current 1,650 students, but the campus size stayed the same.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=471347

Dentist Dr. Matthew Freedman To Stay Put In Lancaster City

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Editor’s note:  Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to Dr. Freedman for making an investment in the City of Lancaster and expanding his  payroll!  Small business is the key!

Dr. Matthew Freedman has sentimental reasons for keeping his dental practice at 416 N. Duke St.

He has business reasons too.

The combination is prompting him to invest $600,000 to renovate and expand the office, rather than relocate.

“At one point, I did look at other sites in the city with a Realtor.  But I didn’t find anything that hit the nail on the head,” said Freedman.

Freedman has deep roots in the North Duke Street office.  It was opened by his father, the late Dr. Edward Freedman, in 1983.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/794930_Dentist-Dr–Matthew-Freedman-to-stay-put-in-Lancaster-city.html#ixzz2FdCsVI9L

Pottstown Senior Center Finds New Home

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

Editor’s note:  We are glad that the Senior Center will stay in the borough of Pottstown where it belongs.  Furthermore, we are happy to see the former Pottstown Health Club building be reoccupied before it turns into a blighted property!  A win-win by all accounts!

POTTSTOWN, PA — After years of searching, the Pottstown Area Senior Center has finally found a new home: the former Pottstown Health Club site on Moser Road.

It was 1997 when the decision was made to leave the senior center’s former downtown home, the former Eagles building, and move into space in the expanded YMCA.

But a decade later, with both organizations growing, both needed more space.  And so the search began.

Locations investigated included the former East Penn AAA building on South Hanover and South Street and the former Dames Chevrolet dealership on High Street, as well as the former Giant supermarket, former Super-Fresh (now site of Wawa) and St. Pius X High School.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120115/NEWS01/120119806/pottstown-senior-center-finds-new-home

Pottstown Borough Council Supports The Arts

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

One of the agenda items at tonight’s Pottstown Borough Council meeting was:

8.  Motion to approve the submission of an application to the Montgomery County Community Revitalization Board and prioritize from the following projects:

  1. Western Gate
  2. Gallery on High
  3. Pottstown Skyline Lighting Project

Councilor Joe Kirkland made a motion to change the order making the Gallery on High the first priority, the Skyline Project would be second and the Western Gateway would be third. 

After making his motion, Councilor Kirkland spoke in favor of the Gallery on High in downtown Pottstown.  People attending shows, exhibits and classes can then take advantage of their proximity to places like the Brick House, Juan Carlos, Funky Lil’ Kitchen and other downtown bars, restaurants and shops.  In light of the recent budget cuts in Harrisburg, the Gallery School has offered to partner with Pottstown School District in the event arts funding is severely cut or eliminated so students will still have this important educational component.

Councilor Chomnuk disagreed and stated he preferred the Western Gateway be made the number one priority as it would be more beneficial to Pottstown.  Since the Gallery Building was already renovated, Chomnuk did not think the Gallery on High’s project would be approved by the county.

Councilor Allen agreed with Councilor Chomnuk.  She did express her feelings that the Gallery on High does good things but she feels the Western Gateway would be more beneficial.

Councilor Rhoads spoke in favor of the Gallery on High because they are an existing business and contribute to downtown Pottstown.  (If the Gallery could buy their building and make the necessary renovations to the third floor, basement and reconfigure their current layout, the Gallery could contribute even more to downtown Pottstown.)

Councilor Weand spoke in favor of the Gallery on High for many of the same reasons listed above.  He sees the benefit of having a thriving business on High Street that brings people into downtown Pottstown “our mall”.

President Toroney spoke in favor of the Gallery on High. The arts are listed in the Urban Land Institute Report as a way to revitalize downtown Pottstown and we should follow the suggestions of this study.  He also recognizes the contribution the Gallery and TriPAC make to our downtown.  President Toroney and his wife attended “The Crucible” production at the TriPAC and he stated he only recognized about three people.  People are coming into Pottstown from outside the borough to attend these productions.

Councilor Gibson did not speak as he was not present at tonight’s meeting

After much discussion, a roll call vote was taken:

Allen – NO

Chomnuk – NO

Kirkland – Yes

Rhoads – Yes

Weand – Yes

Toroney – Yes

Gibson – absent

Mr. Kirkland’s motion passed making the Gallery on High proposal the borough’s number one priority when applying for these county funds.

Cathy Paretti, Co-Founder and Director of the Gallery addressed Council during the comments from citizen’s present, before the vote.  Mrs. Paretti asked Council to please make this project a priority.  She explained that if the Gallery could buy their building they could make the necessary renovations to expand their presence downtown and services to residents.  Cathy also mentioned that the Gallery has a great relationship with the Pottstown School District and if arts education gets cut from the budget, due to decreased funding from Harrisburg, the Gallery would be there to pick up the slack.  Also present in a show of support was Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Gallery School, Erika Hornburg-Cooper.

Roy’s Rants gives Pottstown Council two thumbs up for supporting an existing downtown business, supporting the arts and paying attention to the ULI Report’s recommendations to move Pottstown forward. 

We hope the county sees the wisdom of this decision.  Jason Bobst, Borough Manager and Erica Weekly, Assistant to the Borough Manager will be presenting this proposal to the county so I feel we are in good hands as they are excellent public speakers who can effectively articulate our needs.

Another Downtown Pottstown Business Leaves For Greener Pastures!

For 20 years, East Penn AAA has been downtown Pottstown in the renovated freight depot.  Now, they are running off to Limerick Square Shopping Center on December 6th!  PeopleShare and Domino’s already moved out, leaving this beautiful renovated building empty as of December 6th!  PeopleShare moved to Lower Pottsgrove Township (just over the border).  Domino’s remained in Pottstown Borough and relocated to Pottstown Plaza.

Ummmmm….hello borough officials.  Did anyone try to relocate East Penn AAA within our borders?  We have shopping center space a-plenty at Pottstown Center and Pottstown Plaza, along with other areas of the borough!  After 20 years they up and move!

Update:  Councilor Rhoads responded to my question above:

“I previously talked with a lady at AAA about why they were moving and she said it was not due to any situation in Pottstown. She said Douglasville was their area boundary at this end and that they wanted to be more centralized. She said Lansdale is the nearest office that way.”

Many thanks to Councilor Rhoads for speaking with AAA and for taking the time to let us know that a community leader spoke with this business regarding their decision to leave Pottstown!

See Joe Zlomek’s informative article on the Pottstown Post:

http://pottstownpa.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/aaa%e2%80%99s-downtown-pottstown-store-hits-the-road/