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Reading’s Buttonwood Gateway, Boyertown get state redevelopment grants

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The Greater Berks Development Fund was awarded a  grant toward redeveloping a former industrial site near the Buttonwood Street Bridge.
The Greater Berks Development Fund was awarded a grant toward redeveloping a former industrial site near the Buttonwood Street Bridge.

The Buttonwood Gateway redevelopment project in Reading and a Boyertown rehabilitation project of a blighted property were among 22 projects across the state that will share in $5.4 million in grants, the state Department of Community & Economic Development announced.

The Greater Berks Development Fund was awarded a $500,000 grant toward the cost of redeveloping a four-acre former industrial site near the Buttonwood Street Bridge.

In December, the GBDF was approved for a $1.1 million loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority to buy and develop the property, which once belonged to the American Chain and Cable Co., which closed decades ago.

The GBDF will buy the land from Reading Buttonwood Gateway Group, which was formed by Our City Reading.

The parcel, which can accommodate up to 20,000 square feet of buildings, is in a Keystone Opportunity Zone and a federally designated Historically Underutilized Business Zone.

The Buttonwood project is being spearheaded by the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance and is expected to cost $2.2 million.

Randy Peers, president and CEO of the GRCA, said the grant is essential to making the project financially viable.

Peers said make more sites available for industrial and manufacturing will help increase employment and contribute to Berks County’s gross domestic product. Industrial and manufacturing contribute 22 percent to Berks’ local GDP and employ 31,000 people.

In Boyertown, $300,000 was awarded to Build a Better Boyertown to rehabilitate a blighted building at 45 S. Reading Ave. and turn it into a restaurant.

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