Quakertown is pushing ahead with borough revitalization efforts, which have the potential to create more than 100 new jobs, officials said Monday.
Quakertown Borough Council announced the need for a conditional use hearing on June 5 concerning the purchase of a 66,000-sq.-ft. property on S. Fifth Street in the borough by Gorski Engineering of Collegeville. The property is the former home of the Best Made Hosiery Company.
“The Best Made hosiery mill previously gave employment to over a hundred people at one point during the Depression when other businesses couldn’t,” noted Borough President Jim Roberts.
Roberts also said additional buildings were established around 1935 and business flourished into the 1970s and 80s. However, as time progressed and overseas markets became available, the company spiraled downhill and the building became vacant.
For the past 20 years or so it has sat unoccupied.
According to Councilman Ed Scholl, Gorski Engineering plans to remove five structures and provide beautification to other sections of the property which spans approximately two blocks on Fifth and Apple streets.
Part of that beautification would be the demolition of some of the structures and the construction of parking areas.
“The plan is to save the facade of the buildings. This will be one of the more beautiful locations in the revitalization so far,” Scholl said. He said officials from Gorski wish to keep the façade as it has history in the community.
The hearing is required because officials need to monitor demolition in an area considered to be within the historic district, Borough Manager Scott McElree said.
Borough officials could not elaborate on what type of business would eventually lease the property; however, they said they are confident that at least 100 jobs will be created for the community.
“While we are very excited about this project and want to tell everyone about it, the potential tenant has asked us to maintain their confidentiality for now in the interest of their current landlords and employees. We really look forward to re-purposing this particular building and revitalizing other properties in Quakertown,” Jerry Gorski of Gorski Engineering said Tuesday.
Regardless of who the new tenant may be, borough officials said they welcome the business and job growth in Quakertown.
“We are very excited for all the jobs coming in,” Scholl said.
“Council has been aggressive with the vibrancy of downtown including the Fifth Street project and is looking forward to the opportunity for employment of a large number of people in the community,” McElree said.
More details on the project will be provided by the engineering firm during the June 5 hearing, officials said.