Since the Sovereign Center opened 10 years ago, it has generated big bucks for the local economy, according to a new study.
The Berks County Convention Center Authority and SMG, the company that manages the Sovereign Center, released the economic impact study on Wednesday of both the Sovereign Center and the Performing Arts Center.
The study was done by Dr. Lolita Paff, an associate professor of business and economics at Penn State Berks.
In 10 years, more than $254 million has been generated for the local economy in the Greater Reading region and surrounding areas, according to the study.
This amount, officials said, is based specifically on the direct spending impacts, such as food and goods purchased, tax payments and city parking revenue.
Zane Collings, the regional general manager of the Sovereign Center, said more than 4.5 million people have attended events hosted at the arena and the theater since it opened.
The economic benefits, officials said, affect all those who live, work and operate businesses in the Greater Reading region.
"We continue to adapt in the way we do business so that we can continue this type of success and deliver the impact the community needs and wants," said Collings.
Michael Leifer told 69 News that he has seen firsthand the transformation of his business, The Peanut Bar, over the last 10 years.
"It's a pleasure seeing people come into downtown Reading having that positive experience," said Leifer.
Leifer also stated that his business is not alone. "I would say that without the combined Sovereign Performing Arts Center and the Center itself, that a number of businesses would not be in downtown Reading anymore."
By the year 2020, city officials stated that they hope Reading will become cleaner, safer and have more retail options.
Their hope is to draw more people to venture out and explore the city.