Client: Dixie Commons
Architect: NK Architect
Size: 600,000 sf
Serfass Construction has been hired to perform Construction Managment services on the new $60,000,000.00 Dixie Commons project. The project consists of 240 high end appartment units and 100,000 sf of retail / office use. The project is set to begin Q1 2016.
____Article from GlobeSt.com
Timing is Right for Redevelopment
SOURCE: NK Architects
Part 1 of 3
CHICAGO—In celebration of GlobeSt.com’s 15thanniversary coverage, we asked CORFAC International president Scott Savacool about the topic of development, redevelopment and adaptive reuse on older buildings. He tells GlobeSt.com that it is a major trend these days, and in fact, points out that it is happening all over the country.
In fact, he points out that three CORFAC firms are currently involved in three major redevelopmentand conversion projects that are bringing to life some older and historic commercial properties in their respective communities.
Lehigh Valley, PA: Michael Bartolacci with The Garibaldi Group/CORFAC International(Bethlehem, PA) is working with developer Glendon Properties in Wilson Borough on the massive redevelopment of the former Dixie Cup plant, a 600,000-square-foot, four-story property.
The building was constructed in 1921 for what became the largest cup manufacturing company for decades in the U.S. When complete, Dixie Commons – as the project is now called, will consist of 233 upscale apartment homes in one-bedroom, two-bedroom and studio configurations plus 141,200 square feet of commercial and retail space. Bartolacci was tapped to market the office space.
Joseph Reibman, the president of Glendon Properties and also the Managing Partner for the limited partnership that owns the property, has been involved with the Dixie Cup plant for more than 30 years. The plant structure features poured-in-place concrete-slabs with nine-inch thick walls and floors.
The Dixie Cup Corporation merged with the American Can Company in 1957 and by the late 1970s Dixie relocated its manufacturing to a new facility in the Easton, PA, area. In the 1980s, Reibman and his partners acquired and leased the Dixie building to a third-party logistics provider for use as a warehouse/distribution center. Major customers were ALPO Pet Foods (cans), Mobil Chemical’s (now Pactiv) consumer products division and Hefty (trash bags) for distribution throughout the East Coast. Yet demand for multi-story properties for logistics operators lost favor to the single-story industrial buildings with generous ceiling heights that are commonly used by distribution companies today.
Reibman tells GlobeSt.com that the timing is right for the redevelopment and the market demand is high for this type of mixed-use property.
“We were approached by an investor/developer in 2006 to sell the building – they had plans to convert the building to apartments then, but the financing market disappeared with the recession. Our property is only 60 miles to New York City, we have major employers nearby and 11 colleges and universities in the area. Approximately 25,000 people from the Lehigh Valley commute to work – many of them to Manhattan, and they are generally good-paying jobs. Wilson Borough and neighboring Easton can certainly support new housing and there is also good demand for office space here,” Reibman said.
Reibman is currently working on financing the $70 million to $80 million redevelopment and gathering final bids for environmental work (the concrete columns were painted with lead-based paint and most of the plumbing was wrapped in asbestos). He hopes to have the environmental work done by the end of the year and renovate the exterior of the building all at once including the installation of new windows. The apartments and office space will be built out in phases beginning in 2016. Part of the project calls for removing sections of roofing to open up courtyards in between building wings, which will also allow for copious amounts of light to enter the future apartments. The apartments and office space will have oversized windows and ceiling heights between 12 feet and 14 feet, according to Reibman. The ground floor retail areas have not been leased, though Reibman believes that a restaurant operator will likely want some of the space, and there are tentative plans for a wine bar.
NK Architects of Morristown, NJ, and New York City are the project architects.
Wilson Borough is currently seeking people for vacancies on the Wilson Borough Recreation Board. Letters of interest may be sent to the attention of Ms. Jill Garcia, Borough Manager, 2040 Hay Terrace, Easton, PA 18042 or emailed to email@example.com.
The Wilson Borough Fire Department is accepting applications for part-time firefighter positions. The minimum qualifications are as follows:
1. Certification to Firefighter I level
2. Current Pennsylvania certification as an EMT or Emergency Medical Responder (formerly known as First Responder)
Applicants without these pre-requisites will NOT be accepted.
For a complete information packet with more details, contact Fire Chief Michael Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CROSSING GUARDS NEEDED
Wilson Borough is looking to fill several Crossing Guard Positions. Interested persons can pick up an application from the Borough Office at 2040 Hay Terrace between the hours of 8 Am to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday
Waste Management is offering a free, home collection program for Household Generated Special Materials for Residents of Wilson Borough beginning July 1, 2014.
For further information, please click below.
From the Morning Call 8-17-2015
Every Lehigh Valley town has one — a remnant of an industrial past.
Allentown’s Neuweiler Brewery, Bethlehem’s Martin Tower and Easton’s Black Diamond Silk Mill have been mothballed for years, while others, such as Bethlehem Steel and Allentown’s Western Electric, have found new life through redevelopment.
Somewhere in between is the Dixie Cup manufacturing plant in Wilson.
With its landmark water tower visible from Route 22 in the Easton area, the Dixie plant went through a period of adaptation following its run from 1921 until the early 1980s as a factory producing millions of ubiquitous disposable paper cups, and later ice cream cups, to a warehouse for other manufacturers’ products.
Since 2011, however, the 600,000-square-foot complex has been vacant.
Now, developer Joseph Reibman said, the building is ready for its third act. He wants to transform the property from a deteriorating shell of a brownfield into what he is calling Dixie Commons — more than 200 upscale, New York-style loft apartments, and commercial and retail use totaling about one-fourth of the available space.
Reibman plans to keep the giant, rusty Dixie cup overlooking the plant that once served as a 40,000-gallon water tank. Broken windows will be replaced and graffiti removed. Portions of the roof would be torn down to create landscaped courtyards and a fitness club with a bicycle-sharing program that will enable residents to take advantage of a nearby trail.
If all goes according to plan, Reibman said, the project could be ready for occupancy by late 2016.
“This is a major piece of real estate; it’s the entrance to the eastern part of the Lehigh Valley,” Reibman said during a recent tour of the first level of the four-story building.
The Dixie product concept during the early 1900s began with a simple idea: prevent the spread of germs. At the time, people commonly used a community cup or dipper to drink water from public water barrels. Industrialist Hugh Moore and partner Lawrence Luellen came up with a simple yet revolutionary idea, the disposable cup, initially named the Health Kup.
Moore bought 7 acres between Northampton and Butler streets to construct the Dixie Cup plant after the company had outgrown its New York location. The Wilson plant opened in 1921 and remained in operation until around 1982, when new owner American Can Co. closed it almost immediately after its purchase. Today, Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific LLC makes products with the Dixie name; one of its factories is in Forks Township. It opened in 1964.
Reibman, a Salisbury Township attorney who has lived in Easton, has been the one constant behind efforts to revitalize the rusting complex. The son of the late state Sen. Jeanette Reibman, he grew up knowing the history of the Dixie Cup plant and its economic importance to the Easton area.
In 1983, he purchased the property with several partners and leased it to a third-party logistics company that distributed products including ALPO pet food and Hefty trash bags. About four years ago, the market for the complex dried up as companies sought different types of buildings to store and move goods, buildings with 30- to 40-foot high ceilings Dixie lacks, he said.
Reibman, 70, who operates the property under a limited partnership called Wilsonpark Ltd., is working on securing $70 million to $80 million in public and private financing needed for environmental work and redevelopment. He declined to specify how he will obtain the financing.
He has hired Serfass Construction Co. of North Whitehall Township to manage the construction and the Garibaldi Group of Bethlehem to market the 140,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.
“I want this building restored in such a way that it’s reused, and people in the borough are happy and pleased.”
But major work needs to be done first.
Lead-based paint must be stripped off more than 1,000 concrete, tulip-shaped columns inside the complex. Miles of asbestos wrapped around pipes must be removed.
The inside needs to be gutted. Water drips from the first-floor ceiling. Squatters have damaged entrances and some of the windows.
The building requires new windows, heating, cooling and ventilation systems, and electrical wiring. Freight elevators must be converted to passenger elevators, and the interior must be overhauled.
Reibman, with the help of a $10,000 brownfields grant, hopes to begin environmental testing on the site by fall and remediation sometime after that.
“I’ve had some national and regional companies come in and say, ‘If this property was in Hoboken (N.J.), I’d buy it in a minute.’ I said what you don’t understand is Hoboken is moving to the Lehigh Valley.”
Reibman argues that with an estimated 25,000 people commuting daily from the Lehigh Valley to New Jersey and New York City, the borough and Easton can support new housing and office space.
Delays and frustration
To some people, the lack of progress has been frustrating.
“People call and stop me, ‘What are you doing with the Dixie? What’s happening with the Dixie?,'” Wilson Mayor David S. Perusso said. “And I tell them I hope I see it developed in my lifetime.
“It’s sort of an eyesore,” Perusso said. “We want to see him go through with it.”
Diane Donaher, Northampton County’s director of community and economic development, said the project hinges on financing and the environmental remediation.
“Those are game changers, if you don’t have that all in place,” she said. “All what he’s working on now doesn’t happen overnight.”
In 2012, the Wilson Area School Board voted 5-4 to grant Reibman a Keystone Opportunity Zone designation. The Dixie Cup was named a KOZ property a year later, meaning it can delay paying local and Northampton County taxes for 10 years, or until 2023.
But because Reibman has not started renovations, a requirement of the state zone designation, he is obligated to pay state and local taxes. He derives income from renting a parking lot to Easton Hospital for hospital workers.
“We’re disappointed that it hasn’t moved along because we were hoping it would bring some kind of economic development and spur job opportunities,” said Judith Herbstreith, president of the Wilson school board, one of the four members who voted no to the KOZ.
“He’s on the budget list,” Donaher said of Reibman. “The next step is to get it pushed to the top of the list. We are working with him so that when he’s ready to do that, we can assist him with applying for the actual funding.”
Though Reibman has architectural renderings for Dixie Commons, he has yet to submit formal plans for borough officials’ review and approval.
Pre-World War II architecture lends itself to reuse, said state Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, whose House district includes Wilson.
Freeman, who teaches a land use course at Lehigh University, said such a structure contains “good architectural bones.”
“The important thing is to get a big landmark building like the Dixie Cup plant back into use,” he said. “It would bring a tax ratable, but it would also be a boon to the local economy.”
Continuing several blocks west along Northampton Street, at the border with Palmer Township, Bimbo Bakeries USA closed about a year later, cutting 78 more jobs. (The bakery built a 240,000-square-foot plantoff Route 100 in Upper Macungie Township.)
Today, large-scale manufacturing has ended for the borough of nearly 8,000 residents. Easton Hospital, with 900 employees, is the largest employer, the mayor said.
Reibman understands the concerns but maintains he has been working for years behind the scenes to fulfill his vision.
“I get more inquiries about the cup than I do the building,” Reibman said.
Copyright © 2015, The Morning Call
Wilson Borough firefighters rescue
woman from burning car at Phillipsburg gas station
Published: Friday, March
30, 2012, 1:29 PM Updated: Friday, March 30, 2012, 8:56 PM
By Tony Rhodin |
Wilson Borough firefighter Mark Cooke, who was stopped Friday morning at the traffic
light in Phillipsburg’s Union Square, saw a car burning in the adjacent US gas
station. Cooke and firefighter Charlie Wacik rushed to help a woman out of the
car, according to Phillipsburg Fire Chief Rich Hay
Off-duty Wilson Borough
firefighters Mark Cooke and Charlie Wacik were waiting late this morning at the
traffic light on South Main Street in Phillipsburg
when they saw smoke coming from a car at the adjacent US Gas station.
Cooke initially thought it was just car exhaust. Instead it was a car fire
that, as it quickly grew, began to panic people at the station.
The friends pulled into the lot as smoke from the car — parked at a pump —
“I saw there’s a lady still in it,” Cooke said shortly
afterward, adding he was shocked. “I’m like, ‘We’ve got to get her out
The pair pulled the elderly woman out of the car unharmed but shook up, he
said. She was checked out by an emergency medical services crew.
“We got her out of the car just in time,” he
The first call on the fire came in at 11:16 a.m. Phillipsburg
fire Chief Rich Hay said the fire was caused by mechanical issues with the car.
The car fire was just smoky at first, but then the Wilson Borough firefighters
saw flames, Cooke said
Cooke said he and Wacik, who both live in Wilson, used chemical fire
extinguishers from the borough station and Cooke’s car to keep the fire under
control until Phillipsburg firefighters arrived. They also made sure the gas
pumps were turned off.
The off-duty firefighters had no protective gear in the car, but Cooke said
that didn’t matter.
“We just sprung into action and did our thing,” Cooke,
39. said. “It is what we’re trained to do. We don’t really think about
Cooke said the entire endeavor was just “standard
“We’re just glad to be able to make sure she was OK,” he
Phillipsburg police also
aided in keeping the fire from getting out of control, Cooke said.
Hay, the town fire chief, said he did not have the woman’s name to release.
Town police did not respond to calls for comment.
Attention Wilson Borough Residents
You can now pay your Sewer/Garbage Bill and Wilson Borough Real Estate Property Tax on line with a credit card. Just click here to enter the Official Payment web site. Click the “Local Payment” box , then the State, and Wilson Borough in the “Entity”box. Click on the Payment Type which will reveal the payment to be made. From there follow the instruction for each page. It should be noted that there is a fee for this type of payment. To determine the credit card payment fee click on the Fee Calculator link and follow the instructions
Pictures From The 2015 Borough Wide Yard Sale CLICK HERE!!!
At Meuser Park on Saturday August 20, 2016 From 8:00 to 1:00 PM
Bring your unwanted treasures and a blanket or tables to sell them on.
Meet your neighbors.
Free 15 x15 Space to Setup and Sell for Wilson Borough Residents.$10.00 per space for non-residentsTo Reserve your space now
Download the application form here
Deadline for Applications is Wednesday August 17,2016 by 4PM