EASTON, Pa. - It was once one of the most blighted properties in Easton, but now the former Stewart Silk Mill lot on Coal Street in Easton’s South Side neighborhood will become homes for those who otherwise couldn't afford them.
The development, called The Mill at Easton, will include two three-story buildings with one, two, and three-bedroom apartments.
The units must be rented to people who earn between 30 and 80% of the neighborhood's average income. Developers said the cheapest unit would rent for just over $200 per month.
"I think it's a wonderful thing. It basically fulfills a vision I had a long, long time ago in terms of giving back to a community that had given so much to me,” said John Robinson who bought the property 27 years ago. He ran Black Diamond Enterprises out of the mill for many years but the property eventually fell into disrepair and a fire in 2016 burned up what was left.
"I never lost hope because the people in this community never lost confidence in me,” Robinson said.
The Mill at Easton will also have community and social support services for residents like The Easton Area Neighborhood Center and Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley.
"We get charged a lot of times with trying to gentrify the city. That's the last thing I want to do. As a product of public housing myself, I know the need that is there. But this project will give people the opportunity to become economically stable,” said Easton Mayor Sal Panto.