$15-million redevelopment project in Easton secures funding it needs to get off the ground

by Emma Wright | WFMZ

EASTON, Pa. – The transformation of the former Kaplan’s Awning building to The Commodore on Northampton Street in Easton is a big step closer to reality.

Developer Garett Vassel of Optima Durant Group says the project, which has been in the works for over three years, has secured its major funding, a $13 million construction loan and several million more in grants tied to state funding.

“I never felt like I was out of moves. I knew certainly that we would be delayed, of course, but never that we were out of moves,” said Vassel about the future of the project.

Vassel said things stalled during the pandemic. Lenders were wary and the state temporarily halted most construction projects.

Work on The Commodore will begin this spring. It will still include 32 apartments, a rooftop bar, restaurant, and ground floor retail space. Venture X, a co-working, office-space provider, will take up some of the 14,000 square feet of office space.

“We’re just really happy we’re at this stage. We’re looking forward to this moving forward,” said John Kingsley, Director of Community and Economic Development for Easton.

“This is going to be powerful just from a general economic development circumstance, let alone the fact that it’s going to have a transformative impact as people are coming into the city [of Easton] and what they see, what their initial experience coming into the city and Pennsylvania is.”

Real Estate Inverstor MBA Podcast, Episode 6: Garett Vassel – Real Estate Developer

Developer Garett Vassel, and his company Optima Durant Group, is bringing his large development experience, where he worked for one of the largest publicly traded REITs in the county (AvalonBay Communities), to the Lehigh Valley.

Listen to this episode as Garett eloquently discusses why the Lehigh Valley is such a great market and he passionately walks us through the development of The Commodore building. You do not want to miss this episode!

Click to Listen

With his “Gateway to Easton” project approved and moving forward, the City of Easton is receiving a gem with the The Commodore building. It is large development project totaling 91,500 square feet along the Delaware River, at Northampton Street and Larry Holmes Drive, The Commodore is an adaptive reuse of the former Kaplan’s building at 100 Northampton St. with a new, eight-story addition. It overlooks the confluence of the Lehigh and the Delaware Rivers and is adjacent to the Easton Farmers’ Market.

The plans approved by the City of Easton Zoning Hearing Board include 32 apartments, two ground-level retail spaces, 17,000 square feet of office space on the mezzanine/second floor and a 6,560 square-foot rooftop restaurant/bar.

Check out the pictures on Garett’s company’s website of the proposed plans. They are absolutely stunning.

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