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East Third-Mulberry street parcels finally ripe for development

They have been sitting there for years — two vacant parcels at East Third and Mulberry Streets very near the heart of downtown Williamsport.

While center city has seen a host of developments in the past decade, only grass has grown on these two properties.

The circumstances that make development happen — a location in demand, a seasoned developer, adequate financing and a practical usage plan that meets needs — have not been in place.

That may be changing.

Local developer Daniel Klingerman has met with City Council’s economic development committee about his “Old Town Center” plan for 155,000 square feet of building space on one side at East Third and Mulberry streets and a nearby 350-space parking garage.

The price tag on the development is $39 million, with $22 million to $27 million worth of private investment for a courtyard plaza and $10 million to $12 million for the parking garage.

Financing is always an overriding question regarding such plans. Officials are hopeful that the parking plans can gain state and federal grant money channeled through River Valley Transit and Delta Development Group, which is charged with assisting the city in grant procurement.

As for the location, where a bus terminal was once among the buildings, it is about to become much more attractive as part of the changing landscape in the east end of the city’s commercial area along with modernized traffic patterns.

The developer has a proven track record with the Liberty Arena, a local Hampton Inn and commercial development on the resume.

The usage details behind the courtyard plaza, whatever they are, are not nearly as daunting as they once were. With the Lycoming Mall losing many retail entities in recent years, there is once again room for retail and commercial development downtown.

And parking remains a need in downtown Williamsport, particularly in the east end of the commercial district.

Development success requires a delicate mix of elements to come together. That formula may finally exist at Mulberry and East Third streets.

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