Berks

Renewal of Reading's outlet district enters new phase

Renewal of Reading's outlet district...

READING, Pa. - Developer Alan Shuman continues to push forward with his plans for the Reading's old outlet district.

"It's 320,000 square feet, the total building," said Shuman, standing outside one of the former Reading Outlet Center's largest buildings on North Ninth Street, "and by the time we finish with the demo, we're going to be left with 100,000 square feet, so roughly two-thirds is coming down."

Plans call for creating green space, a 120-spot parking lot, and 80,000 square feet of retail space. The goal is to be ready for renters by spring of 2019.

It's been a decade-long vision for Shuman.

"A total of 10 buildings here, and over the past 10 years, we've renovated all of those buildings, and this is the last building to be done," he said.

And getting here hasn't been easy. A fire was intentionally set at one of the other buildings on North Eighth Street in 2014.

"It was extremely difficult after the fire down there," Shuman said.

That project has been completed. It's the potential end result that keeps him going.

"To actually have a vibrant shopping center here, back on the tax rolls with lots of jobs," Shuman said.

It's that "vibrant shopping center" that Ramona Duran misses and is excited about.

"I used to do that a couple years ago when these were all stores," she said.

And more stores means more potential business for neighboring locations like AP Auto Body Works across the street.

"It's really nice to see something done with it after all these years," manager Harry Barton said. "Hopefully, get more traffic flowing through here and more people to come in the area, because a lot of people don't know we're in this area."


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