A $5 million adaptive reuse project is well underway in Quakertown and represents the first new redevelopment project of this scale in many years.
The project marks the first loan project approved through Bucks County’s “Bucks 2 Invest” economic development program, created in 2013 to spur business activity throughout the county.
Jerry Gorski, president of Gorski Engineering, a design-build general contractor and engineer of Collegeville, is continuing to transform the 60,000-square-foot Best Made Hosiery Co., a predominantly vacant textile mill, into new office, technical and laboratory space for several companies. Gorski is the owner and developer of the site at 18 S. Fifth St. in Quakertown.
Gorski is repurposing the building for several tenants and renamed it “Best Made Center.”
When complete, the building will be about 45,000 square feet. The project should be finished in September, he said. At its peak, the project will have 45 workers on site, he said.
“This is the end of heavy demolition,” Gorski said.
The first part involved asbestos removal, which began in February, followed by interior selective demolition.
Mike Hart from Hartland Demolition Restoration in Harleysville did the demo work, he said.
All aluminum, steel, wood flooring and copper were recycled, Gorski said.
“Even all the masonry is being used for another project,” he said.
Gorski is installing all new windows throughout the building.
The main entrance will have the biggest suite, he added.
Synergis Technologies Inc. will be the primary tenant, occupying 30,000 square feet of the building. Synergis is comprised of two independent divisions – Synergis Software, developers of Adept Engineering document management solutions, and Synergis Engineering Design Solutions, an Autodesk solutions provider in the mid-Atlantic region.
Synergis now leases space in two locations on nearby California Road in Richland Township and would like to combine operations at one location.
With 107 employees, the company plans to grow over the next three to five years to 135.
JOBS IN THE BOROUGH
The building will have room for two more tenants. The site now has 30,000-square-feet of occupied space with 16,000 square feet available.
“We don’t have one yet,” Gorski said, referring to an additional tenant or tenants. “It would make great tech space or even just office space.”
In this space, he will possibly add a skylight to offer more natural light and leave an open ceiling for a more dramatic effect.
Having water and sewer infrastructure already in place made the site attractive for development, Gorski said.
“To get jobs in the borough is what I really want to do,” he said.
DOWNTOWN SWEET SPOT
Various organizations helped the project come to fruition, including Quakertown Borough Council, Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce, Bucks County Economic Development Corp., Bucks County Industrial Development Authority and several state agencies.
Pete Krauss, executive director of the Bucks County Industrial Development Authority, said the project is still on target for occupancy in September.
“They are just about to start work on the roof and the windows,” Krauss said. “My sense is that they are right on schedule.”
He said the development authority provided about $500,000 in funding, which he said is one that will truly revitalize the downtown.
“If you said, ‘what would be our sweet spot in downtown revitalization?’ this would touch every component,” Krauss said. “It brings vitality and energy and consumer dollars right to the downtown.”