First built in 1883, as the city of Easton’s first economic development initiative, the Simon Silk Mill housed the manufacturing of textiles until the late 1960s. Acquired by the Easton Redevelopment Authority in 2006 it was studied for feasibility as a creative complex for individual artists and professionals and deemed a cultural redevelopment project, “Silk” will become a tour de force in the creative community as a live work location.
VM Development, selected through a competitive process, in collaboration with the RDA of Easton, Spillman Farmer Architects and Artefact Architects, began construction of this 300,000+ square foot facility in mid-2015. Combining the powerful economic incentives of the Pennsylvania KOZ, master planning by Spillman Farmer, the design techniques of Artefact and the renovation know-how of VM, the Silk project will become a focal point of the Lehigh Valley as well as a regional destination.
After laying the first new public street in the City of Easton in 30 years, interior reconstruction began on buildings J and K at the core of the complex. These buildings house 33 high-end apartments some featuring spiral stairs and lofts. Work has also begun on building N which offers 30,000 square feet of retail and commercial space along Simon Blvd. Many of the mill’s features will remain in the finished product. The mixed-use buildings also house space on the first floor for parking, commercial use and studios for a true live-work community.
An additional 75 units of one and two-bedroom, multi-floor and multifunctional apartments will be central to Phase 2.
Building L’s residences will be renovated to provide an industrial feel and aesthetic and will include an open air courtyard in the center of the building.
The third phase of the project will unveil 45 more residences. 40,000 square feet of flex/multipurpose space, housed within unique low-story saw-tooth-roof structures, will also be available, as well as more than 30,000 square feet of high ceiling workspace, offices, and 8,000 square feet of retail space along 13th Street. Creek views and a beautifully designed outdoor space featuring original industrial machinery and other large-scale art pieces round out the plan.
The final phase of this project will include the former machine shop and boiler house. Detailed plans for this phase are under development.