Press Room

Developer seeks county support for Cumru project

By Mary E. Young, Reading Eagle

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The developer of a commercial complex in Cumru Township asked the Berks County Commissioners on Tuesday to support an $8.4 million low-interest loan through the federal economic stimulus program.

"This is not the county giving money to a private developer," Tod Auman, president of TedCar Properties, said. "It provides a special interest rate loan program. It lowers borrowing costs.

"It gets projects moving forward that might not take place if that borrowing rate wasn't lower."

The loans, which must be finalized by the commissioners by Dec. 31, were part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

They are intended to create jobs, encourage development and stimulate the economy.

The loans carry no costs or risk for taxpayers because the developer is responsible for repaying the money.

Ground was broken earlier this month for The Gateway at Grings Hill at the Mohnton exit of Route 222.

Auman said the borrowed money would be used to develop a hotel along with the medical center being built for the Reading Hospital Medical Group in the first phase of the project.

Negotiations are continuing with several national chains for the hotel and a supermarket to anchor a retail center in the second phase of the development, Auman said.

Building costs for both phases will be more than $30 million, and more than 750 jobs will be created, he said.

Barry A. Rohrbach, president of the Cumru commissioners, told county Commissioners Mark C. Scott, Christian Y. Leinbach and Kevin S. Barnhardt that township officials are excited about the project.

It will help replace the jobs and taxes lost when the state took commercial property via eminent domain in that area to improve Route 222, he said.

"Mainly Berks County people are in back of it, and it's going to be here for a long time," Rohrbach said.

The commissioners said they plan to formally approve the loan at their regular meeting Thursday.

Contact Mary Young: 610-478-6292 or myoung@readingeagle.com.