The $1-million-plus redevelopment of the building located at 187-191 Main Street encountered a potentially devastating setback earlier this month when the borough learned that its sponsorship of the $500,000 state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant being used to help fund the renovation made the borough financially liable for the funding should the project fail.
That sponsorship agreement, in a slightly revised version, gained unanimous approval from council Monday, explains Emmaus Main Street Partners Executive Director Teri Madison, “which will ensure the continuance of the redevelopment project. We’re moving right along.”
The furniture gallery project is set for completion in October, and project developer Village Centre Properties needed the borough to sign off on the RACP grant sponsorship for it to receive its expected $500,000 reimbursement from the grant -- which equates to 50 percent of the total project cost.
In the end, the borough, the EMSP and Village Properties were able to put language into place that enables the borough to continue to sponsor the RACP grant while safeguarding Emmaus taxpayers from financial risk, according to Emmaus Borough Manager Shane Pepe.
“The developer provided us with both a personal guarantee as well as a letter of credit from his bank,” Pepe explains. “Additionally, we are signing a hold harmless agreement with them. All of this eliminates the liability that the taxpayers would be at risk if the grant were to default. Since we are guaranteed to be reimbursed for any mistakes that might occur, council felt comfortable with moving forward.” he says.
EMSP President Gene Clock, who is also the chairperson for the building project, said, in a written statement, that the Main Street Partners are pleased that EMSP and the borough were able to come to an agreement regarding the RACP grant.
“This insures completion of the 187-191 Main Street Emmaus project, which will provide continued economic development with jobs and increased revenue for the borough. We applaud the work that Village Properties is providing and look forward to completion of the project. Thank you Borough Council for your support and partnership,” Clock says.