READING, Pa. - A Reading developer is hoping to breathe new life into an old building. Building 10 of the Reading Outlet Center at 8th and Oley Streets is getting a complete make-over.
The Reading Outlets used to be a large attraction years ago where people would travel far and wide for a good deal.
"Oh god, it was busy all the time. To get a parking place you could forget it until late at night you could get one," said Reading resident Ronald Walker.
But now, years later, people say the deserted buildings are eyesores in the community.
"Really run down. It needs to be picked up. I mean this is a nice neighborhood," said Reading resident Nelson Mendez.
One developer is trying to do just that. Shuman Development Group bought all 10 outlet buildings eight years ago. It just got word that it will get $6.5-million in tax credits to renovate building 10.
"The nice thing about the tax credits is that it is available to any commercial developer that does development in low income neighborhoods," said Shuman Development Group President Alan Shuman.
The company plans on putting in 72 apartments on the top levels and having 4,200 square feet of space available for retail on the bottom floors. But rehabbing the building is not a quick fix.
"When we purchased it, the roof had collapsed taking out the top two floors. The upper floors were structurally unsound. The building was piled high with debris," said Shuman.
The company has already put $1-million dollars into repairing parts of the building. It now plans to move forward with building the apartments and retail in December.
People we have spoken with say they are not only excited about the prospect of more housing and more retail, but also of more jobs.
"People need to get off the streets and start working. So it would be better to if they do get jobs in the area. It would be a lot less people in the streets," said Mendez.
Shuman Development Group plans on finishing the project by next fall.
Allentown, PA 18102