Welcome to the County of Berks
Penn Ave

History and Description

West Reading Borough’s project is called the Penn Avenue Redevelopment Area. Penn Avenue has been a center of West Reading's commerce and economical development for as long as the borough has been in existence. In addition, Penn Avenue has been a main inlet of traffic moving from the City of Reading into the West Reading area. Businesses have thrived on Penn Avenue for decades, enjoying both city and suburban consumer traffic.

However, over the past few decades, maintaining Penn Avenue's infrastructure and public improvements have been almost ignored. Business owners have begun to feel the negative impact. The lack of upkeep and weakening of local business has created a Penn Avenue lacking vigor and freshness, and reduced the original splendor of the area.

The Penn Avenue Redevelopment Area is an area spanning from the city line to Fifth Avenue from east to west, and Penn Avenue and Franklin Street from north to south. In this area of West Reading, several projects are planned to accomplish the many goals such as:

  • Stimulate economic development in West Reading

  • Widen Cherry Street on the 400 block

  • Redevelop the Penn View Motel Site

  • Provide municipal parking on Cherry Street in the 400 block

  • Replace several sidewalks

  • Acquire and rehabilitate the Penn Ave. Holdings LLC building on South Second Ave.

Current Status

Redevelopment the Penn View Motel site

  1. Submitted application for $500,000 to Pa Housing and Redevelopment Assistance Program. Currently being reviewed by state officials.

  2. Received $750,000 from County’s Federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program.

  3. Submitted application for $1,500,000 to Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  4. Currently being reviewed by federal officials.

  5. Continuing discussions with state officials about additional state funding.

  6. Received redevelopment proposal for Penn View Motel site. Currently being reviewed by a Board of Berks County Redevelopment Authority.

  7. Completed Phase I Environmental Site Assessment on 250 Penn Avenue.

  8. Received in formal approval of $1,500,000 Section 108 Loan Guarantee from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  9. Filed a Declaration of Taking on 250 Penn Avenue.

  10. Completed Phase II Environmental Assessment of 250 Penn Avenue.

  11. Received formal approval of $1,500,000 Section 108 Loan Guarantee from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  12. Received $750,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

  13. Approved revised Redevelopment Proposal for Penn Avenue Redevelopment Area.

  14. Submitted required documents to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for $1,500,000 from Section 108 Loan.

  15. Received $1,500,000 from the Section 108 Loan.

  16. Submitted offer of $670,000 as just compensation to motel owner; submitted offer of $130,000 as just compensation to land owners; submitted offer of $150,562 as just compensation for personal property of motel.

  17. Made settlement for Penn View Motel and contents.

  18. Public sale of contents held on September 19 and September 20, 2006.

  19. Relocated all tenants from Penn View Motel.

  20. Accepted bids for demolition of Penn View Motel until September 25, 2006.

  21. Awarded demolition contract for Penn View Motel to Eastern PA Demolition & Excavation, Inc.

  22. Issued Notice to Proceed for demolition of Penn View Motel.

  23. Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) plan approved by Authority.

  24. Participation in TIF plan approved by the board of the Wyomissing Area School District.

  25. Participation in TIF plan approved by Borough Council of West Reading.

  26. Public hearing on TIF plan held by County of Berks.

  27. Participation in TIF plan approved by the Board of County Commissioners.

  28. Demolition of Penn View Motel completed.

  29. Planning commission gives preliminary plan approval for development of hotel on site of former Penn View Motel.

  30. Borough Council gives preliminary plan approval for development of hotel on site of former Penn View Motel.

  31. Borough Council gives final plan approval for development of hotel on sight of former Penn View Motel.

  32. Sold parcel at 250 Penn Avenue to redeveloper.

  33. Construction of Candlewood Suite Motel begins.

  34. Candlewood Suites Motel opens.

Widen Cherry Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues.
Create a public parking lot between Cherry Street and Penn Avenue in the 400 Block.

  1. Olsen Design Group hired to provide engineering and architectural services.

  2. Presentation of Cherry Street widening and municipal parking lot to West Reading Planning Commission.

  3. Presentation of Cherry Street widening and municipal parking lot to West Reading Planning Council.

  4. Public hearing held by Borough Council.

  5. Borough Council rejects proposed plan.

Develop two parcels along the Schuylkill River for recreation.

  1. Authority receives $16,250 grant from the Berks County Open Space and Recreation Program.

  2. Purchase of first parcel from Mountain Top Associates.

  3. Borough Council files liens against three railroad companies to recover cost of clearing homeless camp on second parcel.

Provide rehabilitation assistance to owners of the building at 158 Penn Avenue

  1. Rehabilitation work begins using funds from the Berks County Rental Rehabilitation Program and owner funds.

  2. Rehabilitation work completed.

Reconstruct cartways, curbs and sidewalks in the 200 block of Franklin Street.

  1. Contract awarded for reconstruction of Franklin Street from Third Avenue to Second Avenue.

  2. Reconstruction complete.

Budget

Four sources of funding have been identified.
DCED provides $500,000
CDBG provides $1,750,000
State provides $1,750,000
EDI/BEDI* provides $1,000,000

Total: $5,000,000 budget.

Related Links:
West Reading Borough's Official website



This page updated April 30, 2012.

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Download and review a map (177kb pdf) of the West Reading project

Related Links:

West Reading Borough's Official Website

West Reading Main Street