West Reading Avenues Summer 2017 - 9
West Reading Borough Council for a vote. As of this writing,
it's my feeling that both bodies view this idea as a true benefit to
the community and I'm confident these steps will be navigated
West Reading is not completely unfamiliar with BIDs. A BID
existed along the Penn Avenue corridor during 2003-08, but ultimately was not renewed upon its ending date. This had more to
do with property owners feeling that the services being proposed
were poorly-devised and were not worth the increased cost. Now,
a push for more communication and transparency is the goal, in
addition to a list of services considered more worthy of approval.
Some may raise the question surrounding the timing for this idea.
Why now? To better understand that answer, one only needs to
consider some of the bigger commercial projects on the docket
both within West Reading and those just outside of the borough's
boundaries. Since its unveiling four months ago, plans for the
Vanity Fair Outlet property represent a $70 million investment in
private money that will completely rehabilitate an aging property
that straddles the West Reading and Wyomissing line. Coupled with
a renovated 701 Reading Ave. (Narrow Fabrics building) which calls
for over 90 luxury apartments, a restaurant and strength-training
gym and a soon-to-be refurbished 416 Penn Ave. (former A-Z
Vacuum building), Penn Avenue is on the cusp of some unprecedented opportunities. These infusions of capital investment locally
will translate into transforming West Reading substantially. New
businesses will open, more residents will live closer to downtown
and pedestrian traffic will increase by magnitudes. The timing for
a new Business Improvement District couldn't be better.
In the short term, a BID would provide property
owners with tools to make West Reading's retail
corridor a world-class destination. A cleaner,
brighter, safer, better-marketed Penn Avenue
represents increased financial opportunity for
every property owner and business located within
the BID. In the longer term, properties located
within the BID will likely experience a significant
uptick in market value which translates into
opportunities for higher rents, business profits
and re-sale pricing.
To help in getting the BID off the ground, the WRCRF has solicited the help of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center in Harrisburg.
The PDC has worked with a number of communities around the
state to establish BIDs and assist in their reauthorization. As the
process continues, business and property owners will be hearing
about numerous opportunities to contribute toward forming a
BID. This endeavor cannot be truly successful without everyone
having a seat at the table and providing their input.
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