Photo by Evan Brandt
This shows the location of the proposed new urgent care center at the intersection of Route 100, King Street and Shoemaker Road. They would like to begin construction as soon as possible.
The roller coaster ride of business news and revitalization efforts in the borough took an upswing Wednesday night when borough council heard about two proposals for two new businesses which want to put up new buildings in the borough.
One, known as Patient First, is part of a chain of 43 urgent care medical centers that has been in business for 43 years and promises to bring 50 jobs into the borough.
"We're looking to hire locally," said Carl Wright, founder and president of The Wright Group, which will construct the building.at the site of the former Chinese Food restaurant across the parking lot from Ollies Outlet and Just Cabinets.
The Wright Group, which is also building the Hanover Square townhouses at the former Mrs. Smith's factory site, will lease the building to the urgent care company for 20 years or more.
"So we're talking about a long-term commitment," Wright said.
Patient First was founded 32 years by Richard Sowers, an emergency room physician who realized that many of those patients who came to the emergency room for treatment did not have life-threatening conditions and could be held instead by an "urgent care" practice, Wright said.
"It was a revolutionary idea at the time, but now they are everywhere," he said.
The business -- which operates nine similar centers in Greater Richmond, Va.; eight in Greater Hampton Roads, Tidewater, Va., and the DelMarVa Peninsula; 14 in Greater Baltimore; six in greater Washington, DC; three in eastern Pennsylvania; and four in central Pennsylvania -- will be open every day of the year, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
|This (fuzzy) photo shows an existing Patient First building.|
Councilman Dan Weand, who is also the chairman of the borough planning commission, praised the proposal.
"We had the pleasure of working with a well-prepared and congenial developer," he said.
"It's going to be a beautiful building," said Council President Steve Toroney, who also serves on the planning commission.
Eleven waivers were required to move the project forward.
Council is set to vote on a preliminary/final site plan approval at Monday night's meeting.
A second new business is also poised to be approved Monday night.
Haggerty Steel, located outside Phoenixville, is looking to expand and to do it here.
"We're looking to grow, that's why we're coming to Pottstown," said Tom Haggerty, who was at Wednesday night's council meeting representing his company.
Haggerty Steel is a "fabrication and welding company," Haggerty said, adding "we would like to break ground in June."
Noting his company had just received its bank finances, Haggerty said "the next eight weeks are very critical, I would like to move in by October or November."
He said the company has eight permanent employees, and he would like to add more, but said that the company at times employs many more, depending on the size of the bids he wins for contracts.
"We're expanding so we can bid on bigger projects," he said.
Borough Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. told council the company is looking to build a 9,000 square-foot building on an undeveloped 1.25-acre plot in the Circle of Progress, adjacent to the Pottstown Municipal Airport.
He said the planning commission recommended site plan approval for this project as well.
"We think you will be a great addition to Pottstown," Weand said.
Asked by Mayor Bonnie Heath about his experience working with Pottstown, Haggerty said "it's been very easy so far and the staff has been great. I found it very easy to do business in Pottstown."
Later in the meeting, Toroney praised the job being done by Steve Bamford, Pottstown's economic development point man and the executive director of Pottstown Area Industrial Development Inc.
"I want to thank him for the great job he's doing," Toroney said. "We've just seen two great things occuring here in Pottstown and Steve has been a big part of making that happen."