A city that once was referred to as the poorest in Pennsylvania is now on the rise – literally. City of Reading

Thankfully for Reading, it is not only because a $63 million, 209-room hotel is about to grace the skies of the city’s downtown. It also is a result of a Main Street funding program, a second chance to land the coveted City Revitalization and Improvement Zone designation, and ongoing acquisitions and redevelopment of iconic buildings.

With all of the renewed hope, though, a dark cloud still looms over the city.

A July FBI raid of Reading City Hall and outgoing Mayor Vaughn Spencer and the August resignation of Reading City Council President Francis Acosta – who pleaded guilty in federal court to accepting a bribe – have created a stir in the community.

But officials and developers remain optimistic about Reading’s future and are keeping the city’s revitalization efforts on track.

The hope, according to Alan Shuman, owner and broker for Shuman Development Group in Reading, is that the new mayor and his administration will bring to Reading an increase in private-sector investment and a more consistent collaboration among the city and developers – all to improve the climate to attract businesses.

“Reading could easily bring in 10 times the development and 10 times the business if they bring in more private sector investment,” said Shuman, whose company has redeveloped, sold and leased more than two million square feet of commercial property in downtown Reading in the last 10 years.

“We haven’t had an administration that has been pro-business and pro-redevelopment,” he said. “You can’t rebuild an entire city on public investment.”

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