Shuman looks to bring Reading Outlets back to life with $14M redevelopment

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The Big Mill building, which is part of the 10 buildings surrounding Reading Outlets that Shuman has purchased since 2006.
The Big Mill building, which is part of the 10 buildings surrounding Reading Outlets that Shuman has purchased since 2006.

Shuman Development Group in Berks County has redeveloped, sold and leased more than 2 million square feet of commercial property in downtown Reading in the last 10 years.

Now it has disclosed plans to revitalize the last piece of the once thriving Reading Outlets on North Eighth Street, a project expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Alan Shuman, owner of Shuman Development Group, announced on the first floor of the Big Mill building about his $14 million commercial and residential plan for the 120,000-square-foot property, part of the Reading Outlet Center district.

The project will bring nearly 60 construction jobs and 90 or more permanent jobs.

“This neighborhood really has a commercial heart now,” Shuman told the crowd of community members and local and state officials.

Partial funding for the Big Mill project came from New Markets Tax Credit. Community First Fund and Commonwealth Cornerstone Group worked together to help Shuman obtain the tax credits to help to subsidize costs. Fulton Bank is the investor, as it bought the tax credits so that the funds could be readily available.

“You are seeing a neighborhood literally rise from the ashes,” said state Sen. Judy Schwenk.

Plans for the 42,000 square feet of commercial space in the building include a child care center, urgent care facility and farmers’ market. The remainder of the building will become 69 market-rate apartments.

“I am very excited about this project because it is with a developer that has a record of success,” said Christian Leinbach, Berks County commissioner. “Alan is taking something that has been an eyesore and breathing new life into it.”

Shuman’s group bought 10 buildings in the outlet district since 2006, totaling about 640,000 square feet. The group has built a grocery store in the district.

“We are extremely excited about this project,” said Francis Acosta, president of Reading City Council. “Alan is the only developer in the city to understand the community where he is building.”

Jennifer Glose

Jennifer Glose

Reporter Jennifer Glose covers health care, Berks County and other topics. She can be reached at jenniferg@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 111. Follow her on Twitter @jenniferg_LVB and read her blog, “Networking,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/networking-blog.

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