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Easton Home Plans 104-Unit Expansion

The Easton Home, a West Ward senior complex, will add new units for low income residents.

A West Ward senior citizen center plans to add 104 new units in two new buildings for low-to-middle income residents, officials said Thursday.

, on the 1000 block of Northampton St., has purchased property to the east and west of its current location, where it will construct the new apartments in two phases over the next few years.

The first phase will include 49 units, the second will have 55, all one and two bedroom apartments on four floors. To qualify, residents would need to earn 60 percent or less than the city's median income. There are currently 54 units in the building, which is owned by the Presbyterian Senior Living company. 

In all, the project would bring 150 new residents to the city, most of them mobile, active people who'd take part in the day-to-day life of Easton, said.

Speaking at a news conference at the Easton Home Thursday afternoon, Panto praised the organization, which has been in the city since 1892.

"They're good neighbors. They've been good neighbors for over 100 years now," he said, adding that the home had clearly studied the city's code when designing the expansion.

"This was exactly the type of development we try to strive for every time we meet with the developer of a major project," Panto said.

It's not clear when the construction will actually take place, because the company must first apply for tax credits from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. The state typically approves those applications in March or April, said Steve Proctor, CEO of Presbyterian Senior Living.

"A year from now, we could be in the middle of construction," he said, but acknowledged that it could take longer.

Proctor said the expansion could create about a dozen new jobs, depending on the types of services required. 

Esther Guzman, of the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership, said she thinks the expansion could attract a number of the neighborhood's older residents. It could also serve as an alternative to the city's , which replaced the Delaware Terrace housing project.

"A lot of people who came from Delaware Terrace to the West Ward don't want to leave," Guzman said.

The fact that her organization has a community garden across the street, she added, might make that transition even easier.

bill frome June 01, 2012 at 03:42 AM
This is al great and dandy but what about all the vacant houses in Easton just sitting there rotting and falling apart????
Tom Coombe June 01, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Are you saying that this company should be rehabbing those homes, rather than putting up new structures?
another point of view June 01, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Should I applaud or scoff? It's great to see private investment in the west ward. There has not been any in decades. But, low income housing? As if Easton does not have its share of such facilities, either the government kind or the kind that is just falling apart due to neglect. It seems that this sponsoring organization owns a facility for upper class residents in Bethlehem and middle class residents in Allentown. Of course, Easton gets the leftovers. I guess my elation is tempered by the last large investment in the West Ward, the expansion of the county work release facility. (The county's mistake was not to mirror the architectural look of the stone walls of the prison.) That facility , too, put hundreds on our streets. Are these proposed housing units taxable? Obviously, the income of the residents will contribute little to the city treasury.

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