With its mix of upscale apartments and expansive commercial space spread throughout a former mill complex, Silk at 13th and Bushkill streets is filling up its available spots with tenants and creating a mini-city in Easton.
The redevelopment, Easton’s largest mixed-use project, enters its final phase next year.
“The Silk Mill project meets several of our goals,” said Mayor Sal Panto, a strong supporter of the project. “First, the adaptive reuse of historic structures, second is restoring our population base, third, increasing our economy, fourth, increasing employment opportunities, and lastly, the elimination of blight.”
The multiphase project had been in the planning stages for several years. The city’s redevelopment authority bought the site for $3.5 million. Since that time, workers completed a large amount of demolition and environmental remediation to get the site ready for construction.
Construction began several years ago to transform the vacant textile mill into a $60 million redevelopment that brings a mix of retailers and other businesses with residents living above. Shuttered since the 1980s, the mill now is brimming with activity from small businesses and residents.
A distillery and home decorator are the two newest commercial tenants to join. They will occupy space along the 13th Street side, where workers are renovating the interior to create viable space, with apartments above.
The project will bring 156 apartments in total to the site once construction is complete, said Mark Mulligan, CEO of VM Development in Easton, the firm behind the project.
The site also has room for about 30 commercial spaces and, by the fall, should have about 25 open. Many businesses already are at the mill, including two breweries, a café, fitness center, winery and hair salon.
On a separate site owned by VM Development but separate from Silk, there is land for shared parking facing Bushkill Street, Mulligan said. About two years ago, the city approved the site for a bank with a drive-thru.
Further east on Bushkill Street near Silk’s second entrance, the site has a little room to expand.
“There’s two houses we purchased last October, of which we are expanding our parking,” Mulligan said. “We will be redoing those houses with more residential units.”
The residents of those two houses became tenants of Silk and should move in soon, he said.
BRIDAL SHOP, BOUTIQUE
Mulligan’s team plans to finish the commercial space facing Bushkill Street by the fall. Christina’s Bridal and Skinterest Skin Care Boutique are two of the tenants that would occupy spaces at that side.
Owow Cow Creamery, an ice cream shop, will occupy space on the side facing the 13th Street entrance, with the shop opening across from Boser Geist Brewing Co.
Meanwhile, Separatist Beer Project (formerly Sole Artisan Ales), will open a beer garden at their location, Mulligan said.
“They are using this site for storage and light manufacturing,” Mulligan said.
VM Development is using its own construction firm to complete the work.
Mulligan said the entire project should be complete by next summer.
Silk also will host Movies at the Mill at 6 p.m. Sept. 29, which will return for its 10th anniversary.
The annual event is a film festival created to help with the redevelopment of Easton. n