Construction for apartment project in Pottstown ready to start


By Holly Herman
Reprinted from the Reading Eagle


The project calls for transforming the former Fecera’s furniture warehouse into 43 apartments, including six for mentally challenged individuals.

There will also be space for ArtFusion 19464, a Pottstown art gallery and school currently located on High Street.

The 60,000-square-foot warehouse at Beech and Evans streets was built in 1912 to house the Leibowitz Shirt Factory.
The building was Fecera’s warehouse and showroom for decades, but it has been vacant for 12 years. As part of the project, developers plan to demolish blighted properties at 173 and 175 N. Evans St.
The project is expected to be completed next January, the developers said.
Officials with Housing Visions, Syracuse, N.Y., and Genesis Housing, Norristown, said they worked hard in recent years to obtain the necessary financing.
In August, the nonprofits received $11.6 million in tax credits from the Pennsylvania Housing Financing Agency, which allows developers to invest in tax-free, affordable apartments. The remaining $2.4 million is coming from county, state and federal funding.
Pottstown Mayor Sharon Valentine-Thomas said the project is a boost for the Beech Street neighborhood and for Pottstown as a whole.
“Development in Pottstown is critical to revitalization,” she said. “My heart is into the new community at the Beech Street Factory meshing comfortably with the existing neighborhood.
“Having a building where you can expand the diversity of people will set a tone for opening up other types of diversity in the borough.”
Borough Manager Mark Flanders said the former Fecera’s building currently serves no purpose, noting that the project will enhance the community and generate property tax revenue.
Flanders said the developers are on track to get the work started this month.
“I can’t wait to see the final product. It will be a catalyst for change for the entire neighborhood,” he said.
Judy Memberg, executive director of Genesis Housing, also is excited for the project to get underway.”The building will have a lot of diversity, some who are artists and some with disabilities,” Memberg said. “It’s an exciting community we are creating.”
Pamela Howard, director of Montgomery County Adult Mental Health Services, said that Health Choices, the state’s Medicaid program, has funneled $750,000 to the county to provide six of the apartments for people with mental challenges. The investment allows the agency to refer six people at a reduced rent rate for 30 years.”
This is for people who have progressed in their recovery journeys and can live in the community,” she said. “It’s nice for the Pottstown area to have a new project that is accessible to transportation.”
Real estate investment service Investors Enterprise Community Partners, Columbia, Md., is providing the funding for the tax credits, and McDonald Building Co., Norristown, is the general contractor.
Contact Holly Herman: 610-371-5029 or hherman@readingeagle.com.