Penn Avenue Redevelopment Area
[skip down to status - budget]

History and Description
West Reading Borough’s project is called the Penn Avenue Redevelopment Area. Penn Avenue has been a center of West Reading's commerce and economical development for as long as the borough has been in existence. In addition, Penn Avenue has been a main inlet of traffic moving from the City of Reading into the West Reading area. Businesses have thrived on Penn Avenue for decades, enjoying both city and suburban consumer traffic.

However, over the past few decades, maintaining Penn Avenue's infrastructure and public improvements have been almost ignored. Business owners have begun to feel the negative impact. The lack of upkeep and weakening of local business has created a Penn Avenue lacking vigor and freshness, and reduced the original splendor of the area.


The Penn Avenue Redevelopment Area is an area spanning from the city line to Fifth Avenue from east to west, and Penn Avenue and Franklin Street from north to south. In this area of West Reading, several projects are planned to accomplish the many goals such as:

  • Stimulate economic development in West Reading
  • Widen Cherry Street on the 400 block
  • Redevelop the Penn View Motel
  • Provide municipal parking on Cherry Street in the 400 block
  • Replace several sidewalks
  • Acquire and rehabilitate the Penn Ave. Holdings LLC building on South Second Ave.

For more information, contact Ken Pick at 610-478-6325.

Current Status

  1. Hired firm of Olsen/DeTurck Architects for engineering and architectural services.
  2. Submitted application for $500,000 to Pennsylvania Housing and Redevelopment Assistance Program.  Currently being reviewed by state officials.
  3. Received $750,000 from County’s federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.
  4. Submitted application for $1,500,000 to Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Currently being reviewed by federal officials.
  5. Continuing discussions with state officials about additional state funding.
  6. Received redevelopment proposal for Penn View Motel site.  Currently being reviewed by Board of Berks County Redevelopment Authority.
  7. Olsen Design beginning work on Cherry Street widening and related parking lot.
  8. Received $261,000 brownfield grant for housing rehabilitation in the Main Street, Elm Street, and Penn Avenue Redevelopment areas.
  9. Completed Phase I Environmental Site Assessment on 250 Penn Avenue.
  10. Received informal approval of $1,500,000 Section 108 Loan Guarantee from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  11. Filed Declaration of Taking on 250 Penn Avenue.
  12. Completed Phase II Environmental Assessment of 250 Penn Avenue.
  13. Relocated 20 tenants from Penn View Motel.
  14. Received formal approval of $1,500,000 Section 108 Loan Guarantee from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  15. Received $750,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.
  16. Approved revised Redevelopment Proposal for Penn Avenue Redevelopment Area.
  17. Submitted required documents to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for $1,500,000 from Section 108 Loan.
  18. Received $1,500,000 from the Section 108 Loan.
  19. Submitted offer of $670,000 as just compensation to motel owner; submitted offer of $130,000 as just compensation to land owners; submitted offer of $157,562 as just compensation for personal property of motel.
  20. Made settlement for Penn View Motel and contents.
  21. Public sale of contents held on 9/19 and 9/20/2006.
  22. Relocated all tenants from Penn View Motel.
  23. Accepting bids for demolition of Penn View Motel until September 25, 2006.
  24. Awarded demolition contract for Penn View Motel to Eastern PA Demolition & Excavation, Inc.
  25. Issued Notice to Proceed for demolition of Penn View Motel.
  26. Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) Plan approved by Authority.
  27. Participation in TIF Plan approved by Board of the Wyomissing Area School District.
  28. Participation in TIF Plan approved by Borough Council of West Reading.
  29. Public Hearing on TIF Plan held by County of Berks.
  30. Participation in TIF Plan approved by Board of County Commissioners.
  31. Presentation of Cherry Street widening and municipal parking lot plan to West Reading Planning Commission.
  32. Presentation of Cherry Street widening and municipal parking lot plan to West Reading Planning Council.
  33. Demolition of Penn View Motel has been completed.
  34. Planning Commission gives preliminary plan approval for development of hotel on site of former Penn View Motel.
  35. Contract awarded for reconstruction of Franklin Street from Third Avenue to Second Avenue.
  36. Borough Council gives preliminary plan approval for development of hotel on site of former Penn View Motel.
  37. Borough Council gives final plan approval for development of hotel on site of former Penn View Motel.
  38. Sold parcel at 250 Penn Avenue to developer.
  39. Rehabilitation of 300 block of Franklin Street is completed.

Budget

Four sources of funding have been identified.

  1. DCED provides $500,000
  2. CDBG provides $1,750,000
  3. PA Commonwealth provides $1,750,000
  4. EDI/BEDI* provides $1,000,000

Total: $5,000,000 budget.

Image of Penn Ave Redevelopment Area

Download and review a map (177kb PDF ) of the West Reading project.

Download and review a map (319kb link to cherry st pdf PDF) of the Cherry Street project.

Recent photos:

Contact:
Kenneth L. Pick,
Executive Director
Berks County Redevelopment Authority
633 Court Street
Reading PA 19601
Ph: 610-478-6325
Fx: 610-698-6326
Cell: 610-698-5437
kpick@countyofberks.com

 

This page updated August 1 , 2008.