For the developer of the long-planned redevelopment of the former Dixie Cup manufacturing plant in Wilson Borough, progress has been inching along. But as he completes the project team and gets closer to securing financing, that progress should start to speed up.
Joseph Reibman, co-owner and manager of the Dixie Cup building, said he is working to obtain the financing to make the redevelopment occur.
“Financing has not been determined,” he said. “We have interest but need to refine some things.”
Reibman has been trying for several years to redevelop the 600,000-square-foot underused site near the 25th Street exit off Route 22. He is planning new apartments and office and retail space for the estimated $60 million project called Dixie Commons.
He has lined up several participants, including Serfass Construction Co. of North Whitehall Township for the construction work and NK Architects of Morristown, N.J., as the architect that designed the project, a move that should speed progress.
“It’s very important to lay a groundwork with people,” Reibman said. “There’s a lot of planning and work required to make a project of this size happen. We’ve had some interest in commercial prospects.”
The project would include 233 market-rate apartments and 141,000-square feet of commercial and retail space, Reibman said. He would like to include a restaurant or two and services for residents of the building.
While he said he does not like the term “repurpose,” the building’s large layout is well-suited for residential. The building has been mostly vacant for years but does have a few small tenants, Reibman said. He declined to identify them.
He expects construction to begin by early next year, with first occupancy for commercial and residential tenants by the end of 2016.
“There is a lot of preliminary work that needs to be done,” Reibman said. Lead-based paint and asbestos have to be removed, he added.
In December 2013, Wilson was among 18 municipalities that earned the Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone, a tax incentive from the state to spur revitalization for underused and blighted properties, including this one. The KOEZ offers a 10-year abatement of taxes for residential properties and a 10-year abatement of state and corporate income taxes for businesses that locate in a zone.