New development projects in Easton set to bring new apartments and people

The+Marquis%2C+a+40%2C000+square+foot+mixed-use+complex+and+one+of+four+large+development+projects+in+Easton%2C+would+replace+the+Pine+Street+Parking+Garage.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Pennsylvania+News+Today%29

The Marquis, a 40,000 square foot mixed-use complex and one of four large development projects in Easton, would replace the Pine Street Parking Garage. (Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania News Today)

Maya Nylund

With four development projects currently underway in Easton, the city is likely to have the capacity to provide new homes for up to 1,000 people soon.

A site alongside the Delaware River on Northampton Street, as well as a former iron and metal site on Bushkill Drive, not far from Lafayette’s campus, will be developed into apartment complexes, Roger Ruggles, chair of Public Safety on Easton City Council explained. A parking garage near Center Square on Pine Street may also be converted into an apartment complex.

Ruggles, who worked as a Lafayette Professor of Civil Engineering before retiring last May, identified 186 South Third Street as another site that will be rebuilt. This location has already been purchased from the city by developers and will be transformed into an apartment complex with businesses on the ground floor, a lower level garage and may even house a grocery store.

The potential developer is a firm called City Center Investment Corporation, which was founded and run by Lafayette alumnus J.B. Reilly ’83. The mixed-use complex, called The Marquis, would be more than 40,000 square feet.

After a request for development was released by the city, the City Council called for a citizen committee to review the list of potential developers, according to Ruggles. The committee recommended City Center as the developer and brought the decision to the City Council.

Two weeks ago, the City Council approved further discussion with City Center regarding the development, which would entail another apartment complex featuring a parking deck and several businesses. Ruggles said that while it is not yet a closed deal, “it’s well on its way.”

A large part of the appeal for City Center, Ruggles added, is its commitment to the Easton community. He cited the corporation’s interest in including a dog park on the roof and balcony to facilitate cookouts.

“They’re very very sensitive to their residents and very sensitive to the community,” Ruggles said. “They want to make sure that the building that they’re building, people are happy living there, and that the community is also happy having them there, so that really stood out. You don’t see that too often.”

Ruggles anticipated demand for the upcoming apartments from people who work in nearby cities like New York City. People whose work has potentially taken on a new remote nature as a result of the pandemic may have lifestyles that would suit moving to an area with lower rental rates and a small city experience.

He said that in addition to new residents paying earned income taxes, “getting over one thousand new people into the city is a really big revenue generator.”