Easton Historic District Commission moves forward with 2 major development plans

By: Xiana Fontno | wfmz.com

EASTON, Pa. – The Easton Historic District Commission approved two major development projects in the city’s downtown area.

During a Monday night meeting, committee members unanimously approved a proposal regarding partial demolition and new building construction on the old Kaplan building on Northampton Street under the condition that certain requirements are met.

Members of the board approved the proposal with the understanding that New York developer Garett Vassel will submit elevations for the west end of the property, any changes to the storefront or original building, as well as plans to further shape out the rooftop restaurant proposed with the site.

Vassel wants to install a mixed-use space that will have 32 residential units as well as a 6,000-square-foot restaurant on the rooftop. Vassel said that two entrances will be available, one through the Kaplan building and another through the new building to ensure security for tenants and restaurant goers.

The project was recently awarded a $3 million grant from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. Vassel said previously that the project will cost about $15.5 million.

Much of the board seemed apprehensive to make extreme changes to the Kaplan building.

Vassel said that he would like everyone to view the construction as two different buildings, an old one and a new one.

Vassel said that while new additions will be coming to the Kaplan building, he wishes to preserve the site while appreciating its history.

“When you cross over from New Jersey into Pennsylvania and see this building, this is truly an opportunity,” Vassel said. “This is something to be celebrated.”

5-story Apartment Complex

In other business, the board also approved the construction of a 5-story multi-use building on 56 North Third Street.

Peron Development of Bethlehem will be on the project that will construct an 84,000-square-foot building with 70 residential units and 1,800-square-feet of retail space. In addition, the project will also feature a dog park on the site, according to Carlos Tovar of USA Architects.

The proposal was previously tabled until the developer provided additional drawings indicating certain elevations of the project.

The property on Third Street is currently a surface parking area with no structures, but used to be the site of the old Boyd Theater.


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