The site once served as a bowling alley and a car dealership in downtown Easton, now it’s being transformed into new office space.
With Hearst Magazines planning to move in this summer, officials hope the property across from the Easton Intermodal Center and City Hall on South Third Street, will be an example of what’s now known as an innovative adaptive reuse.
Hearst will bring about 180 employees to the space, many of whom are temporarily in offices in Center Valley, said Allison Keane, spokesperson for Hearst Magazines, in a statement.
Hearst is renting more than 35,000 square feet, she said.
Hearst, which bought Rodale in 2018, is a major magazine publisher headquartered in New York City.
“We chose Easton as the home for our Enthusiast Group — Runner’s World, Bicycling and Popular Mechanics — because it has a thriving, diverse downtown scene with easy and safe access to trails, paths, and outdoor adventures,” said Troy Young, president of Hearst Magazines, in a statement.
Once complete, the two-story structure, called Heritage Riverview, will offer views of the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers, in addition to a portion of the Delaware and Lehigh trail.
On a tour of the construction site Wednesday, Nikolas Naidu, owner of Mohawk Contracting & Development of Upper Macungie Township, said the building will include a below-ground parking lot, have about 22,000 square feet per floor, and offer 44,000 square feet of office space.
Workers are installing concrete slabs for the garage area and recently completed masonry on the staircase and elevator shaft.
“Right now, we are starting to prepare for steel to start going up the middle of this month,” Naidu said.
The side facing Third Street will have a multiple story glass wall, while the second story will have extensive windows to capitalize on the views and daylight, Naidu said. The firm also plans to build a courtyard between the new building and the existing Monarch Furniture retailer next door.
An older building in an urban area, the construction process for Heritage Riverview has not been without challenges.
“It’s a historic building, [there’s] tight logistics,” Naidu said. “There were quite a few stone foundations that we had to deal with, quite a bit of inadequate foundations for today’s standards. We had to keep the perimeter walls for historic requirements.”
The firm also had minimal requirements for fabricating new steel tying into the existing structure, he added.
As is often the case with historic buildings, workers come across new discoveries and encounter considerable difficulties.
“There were places where you would assume there were columns, and then there were none,” Naidu said. “We had to take off the existing roof, which was in extreme disrepair. We had to use extreme care. We had to bring in a lot of third-party safety groups.”
The other challenge will come when it’s time to erect the steel so close to the existing buildings, he added.
Still, the firm expects to finish construction by June, in time for the anchor tenant’s move.
Mohawk Contracting will also complete the interior fit-out for the project.