A four-acre former industrial site next to the Buttonwood Street Bridge in Reading is one step closer to getting redeveloped.
The Greater Berks Development Fund was approved for a $1.125 million loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority to buy and develop the land at the former American Chain and Cable site, officials announced.
The GBDF will buy the land from Reading Buttonwood Gateway Group, which was formed by Our City Reading.
The parcel can accommodate up to 20,000 square feet of buildings.
Deb Millman, director of business development for the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, said the land would be an attractive opportunity for many companies because it is a “ready-to-go” industrial property.
Known as the Buttonwood Gateway Project, the area next to the Buttonwood Street Bridge was targeted for redevelopment by the late Albert Boscov, the department store CEO and founder of the nonprofit Our City Reading.
Boscov championed Reading’s revival and envisioned walkable neighborhood manufacturing jobs.
The Buttonwood site had attracted some businesses – Hydrojet Services located to the site in 2009 and Sun Rich Fresh Food in 2008. In two separate projects, the Reading Redevelopment Authority and Habitat for Humanity of Berks County are planning to build 46 townhouses and apartments, a community center, park and garden near the area. The bridge itself was recently rehabilitated.
GBDF officials said the loan was encouraging news.
“The development of the Buttonwood Gateway Redevelopment Area mirrors what we’re seeing and supporting throughout the city: steady, positive progress toward the realization of many long-term development projects,” Randy Peers, president and CEO of the GRCA, said in a statement.
In 2017, the GBDF has secured $7.755 million in PIDA loans to support 10 projects.