With its proximity to the spot where the Lehigh and Delaware rivers join, a former bowling alley in downtown Easton could become a multistory high-end residential project with waterfront views.
Though city officials are still determining what they think would be the best use of the shuttered Heritage Lanes building in downtown Easton, a developer is working on plans to transform the property into a new use. His plans include building three stories of high-end apartments, complete with large glass windows and balconies to take advantage of the river views.
The property, across from the new Easton Intermodal Center and City Hall on South Third Street, covers 23,000 square feet.
“Our first inclination is to create high-end apartments,” said Lou Pektor, the project’s developer. “The building is well-positioned to have panoramic views.”
He wants to take the building up to at least three stories so the views would be over and above the first floor.
“Plus, we have a gateway building if you elevate that building,” Pektor said. “It’s strategically located; we believe it’s a prime location for a high-end residential component.”
If built, it would be one of the first structures that visitors to the city would see coming off Interstate 78 west and down through the South Side as they enter the downtown.
The building, which also once was a car dealership, has parking underneath, he added. His goal is to provide one parking space for each unit.
If the project becomes high-end apartments, Pektor said, he would like to build 35 to 40 units, with the majority being two-bedroom units. The property offers space for more than 60 parking spaces, he added.
“I’m more concerned with quality and amenities; we are able to create an open palate with the building,” Pektor said. “I think we could get people interested in selling their houses that want to be in downtown Easton in a high-end residential project.”
While Pektor and an investor group, Heritage Riverview LP, recently took possession of the building for about $1 million, he said the project is in development and has yet to appear before the city’s planning commission.
“We have our own internal design work to finish,” he said.
Pektor said he is working through structural design components to determine if the project could be done with the property.
Dawn Ferrante, director of community and economic development for Easton, said city officials have not determined what they would like to see at the site.
“We don’t know what’s going in right now, but we are working closely with the mayor and are determining what could be going in there,” she said. “There’s a number of other things we are considering.”
She declined to go into further details at this time.
Christopher Baj, senior adviser at Sperry Van Ness Imperial Realty in South Whitehall Township, represented the property owner in the sale. He said Class-A apartments that are not in renovated buildings, but built from the ground up, allow a developer to design something that’s in demand by today’s tenants.
“That has the potential of being one of the best upscale residential properties in the city of Easton,” Baj said. “Part of that will be its ability to be built from the ground up.”
Aside from residential uses, the property has street-level retail space that could serve the people living in the building or in the immediate area. Pektor described it as “neighborhood retail,” with uses such as a coffee shop or dry cleaners.
He said he also has the ability to create an outdoor courtyard between the building and Monarch Furniture, a nearby business.
He said he did not have an estimated construction cost or available project renderings.