Easton officials joined developer PIRHL LLC and development partners for the grand opening of The Mill at Easton, a new affordable housing community.
The 71,000-square-foot, 55-unit development was constructed on a remediated, blighted, brownfield property located across the street from the newly built Cheston Elementary School at 620 Coal St.
The site was once home to a silk mill, followed by a stainless-steel fabricator which went out of business more than 20 years ago.
According to a press release, the property fell into disrepair over the years and because of its central location in a residential community, it was placed on the city’s priority list for redevelopment.
The Mill at Easton is an $18 million development for working families, seniors and professionals earning incomes at or below 80% of the Area Median Income.
The building features two three-story buildings including 11 one-bedroom, 30 two bedroom, and 14 three-bedroom units.
The larger of the two buildings includes a community room with kitchenette and management suite, a kids’ activity room and study, and a fitness room. Each unit includes energy-efficient appliances, central air conditioning, a pantry, and a washer and dryer. Some of the units also have balconies.
The community was designed to meet the standards of the U.S. Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home Program. The property features social and community support services provided by The Easton Area Neighborhood Center, Fulton Bank, Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley, and Project of Easton.
A part-time service coordinator facilitates education, wellness, and social programs for residents.
Lara Schwager, senior vice president of development for PIRHL who served as the developer and general contractor on the project moderated the ribbon cutting ceremony.
“Today is about celebrating the work and the achievement of delivering important housing to the City of Easton,” she said. “Every partner involved in The Mill at Easton knows that at the end of the day, we do this work because every person deserves a safe and decent place to call home.”
“This development is helping The City of Easton to meet our number one priority which is providing affordable housing for our residents.”, said Easton Mayor Sal Panto, Jr.
The Mill at Easton was developed as a public-private partnership with support offered by many development and financial partners including the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, which awarded the project 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $12.8 million in private equity.
PHFA also provided $1 million in funds from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement program.
The project also received a $2 million Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant, and more than $1 million in assessment and remediation funds from the PA Industrial Site Reuse Program. The community also benefited from approximately $335,000 in Community Cost Relief Program (CCRP) funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, which was distributed by PHFA.
The City of Easton awarded the project $100,000 in American Recovery funds. The Mill at Easton was developed in partnership with PIRHL Developers LLC, Stewart Silk Mill Redevelopment Partners, and the Easton Area Neighborhood Center.o