Easton’s Commodore Project Secures Funding, Office Tenant, Construction Expected to Begin Soon, Developer Says


The “Easton’s Commodore” project will begin construction this spring at Northampton Street and Larry Holmes Drive in and around the former Kaplan’s Awnings building, the developer said.

The eight-story mixed-use effort, which will include 32 rental apartments as well as 14,000 feet of office space and a rooftop restaurant, has secured its $ 13 million construction loan as well as a bridge loan $ 3 million related to CRAP grant of $ 3 million, the project was awarded state, Optima Durant Group chairman Garett Vassel said in a press release.

The building also received a grant of $ 3 million C-PACE loan, which involves adding energy saving measures and requires reaching a certain threshold of efficiency, said Vassel.

Office space is already occupied before the first excavator starts, as Vassel has a deal with Venture X, the shared office / coworking space provider that already has a strong presence in Bethlehem.

Optima Durant’s goal during the COVID-19 pandemic was to resolve the financing of the project and secure the construction budget in order to maintain the development plan while seeking “greater efficiency in the design in order to find a way forward, ”the press release said.

Developer Garett Vassel says he has a promise to keep with the City of Easton.Courtesy of Optima Durant Group

The developer also worked with Met-Ed and the Greater Eastonian for an easement that “would provide the 2,200 amps (of electrical current) needed” for the project, Vassel said.

Developer Borko Milosev, who saved 118-120 Northampton St. from the wrecking ball, said that part of town had electricity problems.

The reduction is complete inside the building, Vassel said. Part of the added large structure will be dismantled to make way for a significant new construction, but the original facade will be retained, Vassel said.

Commodore of Easton

Construction of the Commodore of Easton mixed-use development is expected to begin this spring on Northampton Street and Larry Holmes Drive in Easton.Tim Wynkoop | lehighvalleylive.com contributor

Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr., who oversaw the rebirth of the neighborhood, said Vassel is bringing something more to the table.

“I am excited about this project because it will bring a new dimension of mixed uses to our city,” Panto said.

The 100 block of Northampton Street is the “gateway to Easton,” Vassel said, and visitors crossing the free bridge from New Jersey in just over 18 months will be greeted with Vassel’s full contribution to the amazing recovery of the city center.

“The project has been a journey,” he said in the press release. “There were considerable challenges, both controllable and uncontrollable, but we did not panic. We have remained positive and resilient. We have focused our attention on solutions and greater efficiency. I made a promise and I intend to keep it.

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Tony Rhodin can be contacted at [email protected].

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