Reading Outlet Center Building No. 1 Redevelopment - Slow Progress
|Reading Outlet Center|
In 2011, Think Loud Development LLC teamed up with a Nazareth, Northampton County based real estate developer Bill Hynes and purchased the former Reading Outlet Center Building No. 1 at 801 N. Ninth Street for $1 million.
Think Loud is owned by Chad Taylor, Patrick Dahlheimer and Chad Gracey. They are members of the rock band "Live." "Live" soared to fame in the 1990's, selling millions of albums and recording hits like "Lightning Crashes" and "I Alone."
The band members formed their first band in Gracey's garage in York, perhaps 50 miles from the 110 year-old building at 801 N. Ninth St. in Reading.
The rundown interior of the massive structure at 801 N. Ninth St. is rich in history. The original owner, Nolde & Horst Co., started making hosiery there around the start of the 20th century. Nolde & Horst went out of business around 1954.
Hosting outlet stores was the second incarnation of 801 N. Ninth St. Buses came to Reading in droves to visit the outlet stores.
Think Loud's interest in the acquiring the building grew through the latter half of 2011. In late September, when The New York Times published a story that told how Reading had more residents living in poverty than any other mid- to large-sized city in the country, the band members' desire to go forward only increased.
The structure retains an appearance of factory like sturdiness, with massive wood beams and high ceilings. When Live members walked through it in December, 2011, windowless openings gaped from the upper floors of the five-story facade. Aging wood floors were holed and scattered with broken glass.
Around January 2012, Think Loud Development, said they planned to spend more than $36 million to turn the center into a mix of commercial and residential units with a parking garage. Think Loud retained Shillington architect David M. Kleckner to design the complex. Kleckner renovated a former silk mill building in Shillington.
A crucial, formative piece was securing a major corporate tenant. Think Loud signed an agreement with an undisclosed high-tech company that would occupy at least 50,000 square feet of the 320,000-square-foot structure.
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On January 19, 2012, Think Loud Development, along with architectural firm Kleckner Laucks, revealed preliminary plans to Reading administrators including Mayor Vaughn Spencer, Fire Marshal Todd Laeger and new zoning administrator Craig Peiffer.
The preliminary plans for ROC 1, as it's labeled, called for a restaurant, office and other retail space, and 131 apartments, most of which look into a large, secure interior landscaped courtyard with playground equipment.
Plans also included razing the northwest corner of the block-sized building to erect an attached parking garage with more than 250 spaces, and security guards monitoring the entire complex (add photo of plan)
Think Loud retained Kinsley Construction of York - the hometown of the three band members - as general contractor for the project.
In June 2012, Think Loud Development announced that they were rethinking their plans of whether to include a garage in their planned conversion of the former Reading Outlet Center building into apartments and commercial space.
An architect who took over design work on the project, Robert Kinsley, who is president of LSC Design Inc. of York, which has shared ownership with Kinsley Construction, said planners were revisiting the concept of including a garage on the site.
In January 2013 Think Loud began considering plans to demolish the entire building to make room for a new structure.
The building fell into such disrepair that it was structurally unsafe. The building lost all its historic identity. What gave its historic identity were the windows that the previous owner removed.
The rehabilitation of the building would cost over $30 million. Knocking it down and creating a new building would cost half that.
On February 13, 2013 Kinsley Construction completed a building demolition bid package for the Reading Outlet Center.
In April 2013 several building demolition and hazardous material removal companies met with Kinsley Construction for a pre-bid walk-through of the demolition of the building.
GoReadingBerks is currently waiting for an update of the demolition phase of the building from Think Loud.
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