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$63M hotel opens, signals new era for downtown Reading

The eight-story, $63 million, 209-room DoubleTree by Hilton Reading annually will bring 600,000 people to the city. - (Photo / Jennifer Glose)

Longtime Reading entrepreneur Jack Gulati built 40 businesses in the city, wrote a book and in 2014 came out of retirement to save the Reading Royals.

Longtime Reading entrepreneur Jack Gulati built 40 businesses in the city, wrote a book and in 2014 came out of retirement to save the Reading Royals.

But the opening of the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading is his biggest endeavor yet – and it’s one that could lead the city to a new era.

The $63 million hotel opens Dec. 8, bringing with it nearly 170 new jobs and an anticipated 600,000 people annually to the city.

“This is another true example of what happens when you stick with the task,” said Gulati, one of the 11 investors in the hotel, along with Reading retail mogul Al Boscov, the lead investor.

The 209-room, urban rustic-style hotel – across from Santander Arena on the 700 block of Penn Street – is expected to be an incentive for businesses to reinvest in their companies and to help drive new businesses to the downtown. The DoubleTree is being called an economic driver by adding jobs, visibility and a venue that can accommodate anything from a small, intimate gathering to a convention of thousands.

“This is not only a hotel project but a catalyst for other things to come to the city,” Gulati said. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

Jon Scott, president and CEO of Greater Reading Economic Partnership – an organization that has facilitated 154 economic development projects and attracted, retained or grown more than 12,220 jobs in Berks County – said the new hotel will help his organization bring businesses to the city.

“ … [The hotel] will help attract new business and development, as well as help existing businesses grow and prosper … ,” he said, as it will help to strengthen and solidify a geographic location at the eastern end of Penn Street.

The hotel’s general manager, Craig Poole, has spent the last year walking the neighboring streets, encouraging surrounding businesses to spruce up their storefronts and companies to prepare for the spike in downtown economic activity when the DoubleTree opens.

“[This hotel] is a game changer,” Poole said.

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.

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