New York developer has big plans for Kaplan building in Easton

EASTON, Pa. – It was once home to three generations of a family business and known for its red, white and blue awnings.

But now the Kaplan building, which sits on the corner of Northampton Street, is the latest piece of hot Easton real estate.

New York developer Garret Vassel has big plans for the property, which include retail space, apartments, and a roof top bar and restaurant.

“The ability to be able to look out onto this fantastic view here, the two rivers coming together, I think the vantage point was really it for me,” Vassel said.

Parts of the building, which is over 100 years old, are in serious disrepair.

The first and second floors housed Kaplan’s sign and awning business, which has since relocated.

The third floor was at one point an apartment, but water damage and neglect have left it in shambles. There are holes in the walls and ceilings, buckling floor boards and broken glass.

Vassel said the current condition is cosmetic and the location and history of the property is what drew him to it.

“The numbers, all of the analysis, is great. But there has got to be a sex appeal, an excitement. For me it was the charm of the building,” Vassel said.

Project investor and former Easton Mayor Phil Mitman says he expects the building redevelopment to add to Easton’s growing revitalization.

“It’s just a wonderful time to take this old building, building around it and then invite people to live here. The views and everything else are phenomenal,” Mitman said.

Vassel calls the project ‘adaptive reuse’ and says he plans to restore parts of the building back to their former glory.

The rest will be transformed into something new.

Vassel said he plans to start construction this year.

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