Reading Royals To Be Sold To Berks Businessman

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

The Reading Royals will be sold to Berks County businessman Jack D. Gulati, officials involved in the deal announced today.

Gulati said he plans to keep the Kelly Cup winners in Reading and based out of the Santander Arena.

He has agreed to buy 100 percent of the team shares. Ownership had been split between the Berks County Convention Center Authority and SMG, the company that operates the arena.

The sale is contingent on EHCL, formerly East Coast Hockey League, approval.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/news/article/reading-royals-to-be-sold-to-berks-businessman#.Uv-jHPRDsxI

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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

GoggleWorks Apartments Tax-Exempt, Judge Rules

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

A Berks County judge has ruled that the GoggleWorks Apartments are completely tax-exempt, a decision that will save the five-story complex at Second and Washington streets $29,500 a year.

The order, handed down this week by Judge Scott E. Lash overturned the Berks County Board of Assessment Appeals, which decided in December that 80 percent of the building is taxable since 80 percent of the 59 apartments are being offered at market rate.

Built by the nonprofit Our City Reading, the complex is owned and managed by the Reading Housing Authority.

In a 26-page opinion, Lash said the market-rate apartments are tax-exempt because they fall within the scope and purpose of the housing authority’s operation, in this case to develop and revitalize a local community.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=514800

Mix-Up In Payment Costs Reading $715,000

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

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

City officials acknowledged Monday that a $625,000 payment from the wrong fund 10 years ago for the Sovereign Plaza project now is costing the city $715,000 in money it could otherwise have used for economic development.

Matthew Bembenick, administrative services director, also told City Council that the Reading Redevelopment Authority had a verbal deal, not a written agreement, on who pays back several loans from that project, so there’s little paperwork except for some 10-year-old emails.

“The documentation that exists from 10 or 11 years ago is spotty at best,” said Bembenick, hired last year.

He added that he’s spent countless hours trying to find what paperwork the city has.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=504622

Albert Boscov: Reading School Board Should Honor 2006 Tax Deal

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

Editor’s note:  We ask the members of the school board not the be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Do the right thing for Reading’s revitalization.  Honor the deal!

Albert Boscov wants the Reading School District to hold up its part of the deal.

Back in 2006, Reading School Board members – along with city and county officials – agreed to a plan to reduce property taxes for the then-proposed GoggleWorks Apartments.  But now that the complex at Second and Washington streets is open, a problem has popped up.

It turns out, Our City Reading, which spearheaded the project, never officially finalized the tax deals.

Boscov has met with school district, city and county officials in hopes of getting current officials to sign off on the tax breaks their predecessors agreed to.  He attended Monday night’s Reading School Board meeting to reiterate his plea.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=494614

Program Profiles Reading Redevelopment Efforts

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

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

Efforts to revitalize Reading’s economy were highlighted Thursday in a live national round-table online discussion that included panelists from California and Georgia.

Albert Boscov is very good at shaking money trees, and I collect the bills,” said Adam Mukerji, executive director of the Reading Redevelopment Authority, who sat in for the retailer Boscov, a key figure with Our City Reading, a group committed to helping first-time buyers purchase refurbished city homes.

Mukerji described the retailer “as one of the most charitable persons I have ever worked with.”

Conversation Starters, a national nonprofit based in College Station, Texas, hosted the third in a series focusing on nationwide ideas for community building and economic development.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=484645

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

Stokesay Castle Savior Recounts Memorable Career

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

The bolt of lightning that lit up Stokesay Castle just before Christmas in 1991 was invisible to everyone except the first-time visitor who experienced it.

It was a brilliant, internal flash of recognition that took place in the mind of Jack D. Gulati.

A veteran buyer and seller of businesses who had immigrated to the U.S. from India as a teenager, Gulati had learned to profit from such moments.  He had experienced many.  Like all the other times, as he absorbed the hulking medieval-style grandeur of Stokesay, he saw two simple things.

Value and possibility.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=478200

Albert R. Boscov’s Impact Stretches Beyond Berks, And Beyond Business

English: Boscov's Department Store in the Exto...

English: Boscov’s Department Store in the Exton Square Mall. Built c. 1998 as an expansion to the mall, it displaced the Zook House which was on the NRHP in Chester County, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even in a city famous for its entertainers, Albert R. Boscov stands out.

Twice a year Boscov heads to Las Vegas for the country’s biggest consumer-goods trade show, held in the city’s convention center.

The building is packed with almost 3,000 vendors selling everything from diamond rings to dog food.

Boscov is one of 45,000 retailers who attend.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=456203