Six Area Redevelopment Projects Win State Grants

HARRISBURG PA – Six proposed area redevelopment projects – three in Pottstown, and one each in Collegeville, Upper Providence, and Phoenixville – won a cumulative total of $7.25 million in grant money Wednesday (Dec. 23, 2020) to help launch new construction or rebuilding efforts expected to enable their communities to prosper, the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program said.

In Pottstown, the Pennsylvania Budget Office program gave $1 million to the Pottstown Sustainable Energy Park and its biomass gasification facility; $1 million for renovation of the former Mercury building on North Hanover Street into a hotel; and $500,000 for the Y3 Life Sciences Incubator, intended to help start and grow fledgling life science company ventures with shared laboratory, computer, and meeting facilities, 24th District state Sen. Bob Mensch and 146th District state Rep. Joe Ciresi confirmed.

In Collegeville, $1 million was awarded for renovation of the historic Perkiomen Bridge Hotel, and in Upper Providence, $2 million was offered for construction of a fire and emergency services facility and training building, 44th District state Sen. Katie Muth reported. And in Phoenixville, the borough will receive $1.75 million for community health, safety, education and training facilities that include the fire station.

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects.

Here’s how the local winning projects were described:

Pottstown

The Pottstown Sustainable Energy Park LLC (PSEP) “is developing a 174k-ton per year biomass gasification facility. The project will process clean commercial waste (primarily wastepaper, cardboard and waste wood) from 54 large production plants in Montgomery, Berks and Lehigh counties. The facility uses a green gasification process that produces virtually no emissions or other environmental consequences. The facility will generate nearly 13.5 million gallons of renewable diesel fuel and more than 22k tons of biochar for the agricultural market. PSEP will acquire 11 acres on Keystone Blvd in a federal opportunity zone, provide fill and improvements returning an old industrial property to the productive tax roll. (It) then will construct a facility consisting of a material processing facility, a gasification and fuel production building, and a biochar processing building. The plant will use up to 9MW of electricity procured from the PA electrical grid. Waste processed by PSEP keeps significant tonnage out of PA landfills.”

“The Mercury Building is prominent in the history of Pottstown and significant in the economic growth of the town and the greater region. Vacant since June 2018, the building requires comprehensive renovation and rehabilitation for use by the public. The planned use of the property is a boutique hotel, restaurant (and) lounge (proposed by) 30 N Hanover LLC, which will complement established businesses in the vicinity. The original portion of the building is concrete block and steel construction. The superstructure, being the steel framing, block walls and skin are in fair condition. The remainder of the building was neglected and damaged by roof leaks. The existing HVAC system is a hybrid of oil and forced air, with the systems being aged past usefulness. Also, the HVAC, plumbing systems and sprinkler systems will need to be modified to serve each hotel room or space individually.”

Y3, LLC “will lease space on the 3rd floor of 159 E. High St from Pottstown. The space was recently reduced to a concrete and steel shell including the removal of asbestos materials. The future space will be designed (to create the Y3 Life Sciences Incubator, housing) a variety and ever-changing mix of life science ventures that require laboratory research space, high-speed computing power, and flexible collaboration space. Y3, LLC will fit out the spaces with HVAC, counters, cabinets, sinks, and utility connections appropriate for the industry. Private equipment and further customization will be the responsibility of the tenant. A benefit of the incubator, will be that it offers common equipment and resources that can be shared by the tenants.”

Collegeville

“The Perkiomen Bridge Hotel, circa 1743, is a historic landmark. It is reported to be the oldest standing hotel in the United States. The property consists of 16,000 square feet. The historic building is 8,000 square feet. The historic building will be wholly restored (by Perkiomen Bridge Hotel LTD), consistent with Department of Interior Guidelines. The additions to the historic building will be demolished; and rebuilt on site. The historic building is in substantial disrepair; and it will be restored from top to bottom.”

Upper Providence

The Upper Providence Township “project entails the construction of a fire and emergency services facility and training building on land owned by (the) township. This facility will be the headquarters and primary response location for all fire and EMS services for Upper Providence … This specifically includes installation, and construction of foundations, structural elements, interior construction and finishes for the new building and associated training building. This facility will also contain the township’s emergency operations center which is a critical element considering its presence within Limerick Generating Station’s emergency planning zone.

Phoenixville

The Borough of Phoenixville will undertake “construction, infrastructure and other related costs for community health, safety, education and training facilities, including Phoenixville Fire Station. The project consists of 24,400 SF fire station facility, including approximately 10,600 SF of two-story office and support space, and a 13,800 SF six-bay drive-through apparatus room located on the west bank of the French Creek at 150 Paradise Street that is required as the community grows and transitions from a volunteer fire company to professional/volunteer Fire Company. This facility will also allow for trainings inside and out where a training pad will built on the north portion of the parcel.”

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