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Pajama Factory owner eager to see more improvements

The Pajama Factory in Williamsport. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

A $2 million state grant for the Pajama Factory, an artists’ studio at 1347 Park Ave., is giving its owner, who wants to leverage the money starting in coming months, a sense of optimism.

“That grant will allow us to get bigger and better,” said Mark Winkelman, Pajama Factory owner and founder.

Located in a rejuvenated, historic factory complex at 1307 Park Ave., the site was a recipient of a state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant from Gov. Tom Wolf’s Office of Budget.

The factory consists of an arts community who have come together to build off of each other’s strengths and dreams in order to create something bigger than themselves, Winkelman said.

Winkelman, who bounces back and forth from the city to New York City, said artists lease space in the building he bought over a decade ago.

With the grant he can hire contractors to pave the parking lot, add high-efficiency heating and air conditioning, mitigate stormwater runoff issues and build a “green” or environmentally-friendly roof with a roof-top deck.

“We expect to begin the parking lot work in the spring,” Winkelman said.

The building has been leased out above the ground floor.

“In all we have about 160 separate spaces leased to about 145 different tenants,” Winkelman said.

Today, the facility features third-floor studios, residential lofts, a passenger elevator with a stop at the future roof deck and improvements in the courtyards.

It is a more comfortable environment for the artists and visitors, he said.

The building has a hot water boiler system, private and tenant rest rooms and fourth floor studio spaces.

“We continue to get bigger and better,” he said. “All we are doing is waiting on a pass from the city on the specifics of the proposal to the state,” he said.

Toward that end, City Councilman Dave Banks said the grant and its use at the factory was among the projects the economic revitalization committee and others on council plan to tackle in coming months.

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