CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT
Existing Land Use in the
Central Business District
| The Pottsville
AreaDevelopment Corporation | The
Main Street Marketing Assessment |
| Central Business
District Revitalization Goals
Business District Revitalization Recommendations |
Pottsville Central Business District (CBD) is the focus of this
section of the Comprehensive Plan. Current land use patterns in
the CBD are described, the activities of the Pottsville Area
Development Corporation (PADCO) are profiled, and goals and
recommendations are included for continuing and enhancing
Pottsville CBD is the government and business hub of Schuylkill
County. It is an active and successful downtown with excellent
investment opportunities. The downtown is also an employment
center and important source of property tax revenues for the
City, County and School District. At the same time, Pottsville’s
CBD suffers from the disinvestment and physical decline that
plague urban areas throughout the country. The shopping malls,
business parks and highway commercial strips that have changed
our landscape continue to work against growth in downtown
Pottsville. In response to these trends, a combination of
public, private and non-profit entities are working to
strengthen the CBD by recruiting new investment, revitalizing
old properties and improving the downtown’s physical
infrastructure. Important progress is evident in the CBD despite
setbacks and ongoing challenges.
Land Use In the Central Business District
uses in the Pottsville CBD are a combination of retail
establishments, services and office space (including government
offices). The largest retail uses in the downtown area are a
supermarket and a lumber dealer, both of which have access off
Route 61. On Centre Street— the heart of the downtown— the
retail mix is a wide range of more specialized retailers. Video
rentals, a candy store, a deli and a flower shop are examples of
the small retailers that complement the pharmacy, restaurants,
clothing shops and other retailers located in the CBD. Services
include the banks, a
travel agent and various hair cutting establishments, among
other business and personal service providers.
in the downtown are occupied by both the public and private
sectors. The Pottsville City Hall, the Schuylkill Courthouse and
a State office building are the predominant public users. Public
entities such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Regional
Development Center and related government agencies are also
found in the CBD. Privately occupied offices in the downtown
include both large multi-story structures and small first floor
these offices, an "office row" pattern of doctors’
and lawyers’ quarters exists on Market Street between Fourth
and Sixth streets. This attractive area on historic Garfield
Square consists mainly of old homes that have been renovated and
are being reused as professional office space. Because the
Garfield Square area is not within Pottsville’s official
historic district, alterations to the buildings there are not
governed by the City’s Historic Architectural Review Board.
Nonetheless, they are historic buildings whose adaptive reuse
has occurred without compromising the area’s historic
integrity. Recommendations on establishing special zoning
regulations to protect the Garfield Square vicinity are included
in the Future Land Use section of this Comprehensive Plan.
land uses in the CBD not fitting in either the retail, service
or office categories include the Post Office, the Quality Hotel,
the Necho Allen Apartments and three public parking areas. The
Post Office is a large structure located at the eastern end of
the CBD opposite the City Hall parking area. The Quality Hotel
is a major attraction in the downtown that includes dining
facilities and a large parking lot on Progress Avenue. The Necho
Allen is an elderly housing complex at Centre and Mahantongo
streets. Public parking areas in the downtown include the
Capitol Deck at Centre and Arch streets, the Mahantongo Street
Deck at Mahantongo and Second streets, and the Arch Street
parking lot at Center and Arch streets.
MAP 6 - EXISTING LAND USE - NORTH CENTRE STREET ENLARGEMENT
MAP 7 - EXISTING LAND USE -
SOUTH CENTRE STREET ENLARGEMENT
MAP 8 - EXISTING LAND USE -
WEST MARKET STREET ENLARGEMENT
Pottsville Area Development Corporation (PADCO)
Pottsville Area Development Corporation (PADCO) was founded
in accordance with a 1984 recommendation by the American
Cities Corporation that Pottsville needed a development
corporation to oversee revitalization of the central
business district. PADCO stated in 1987 with a $50,000 State
Enterprise Zone grant. Since that time PADCO’s revolving
loan fund has assisted in financing approximately 70 facade
renovations and other physical improvements for existing and
start up businesses. The 27-member PADCO Board, which
consists of both public and private sector representatives,
currently oversees a loan portfolio of over $1.8 million.
partnership with the Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce
and others, PADCO provides
site selection services, design assistance and related
business development aid. With an emphasis on job creation,
PADCO’s low-interest loans help fund business expansion,
equipment, start-up costs, physical renovations and other
is now administering the City’s Main Street program and
has grown into a major provider of management services for
various public and non-profit entities. PADCO manages the
City’s two public parking garages on behalf of the
Pottsville Parking Authority and provides management
services for the Pottsville Businessmens Association. PADCO
is slated to manage the new Technology Incubator. The agency
also administers the Pottsville Commission on Tourism and
the Majestic Theater Corporation.
Majestic Theater Corporation is a non-profit organization
created to establish a performing Arts Center in downtown
Pottsville by renovating the former Majestic Theatre on 209
North Center Street. This historic building was a movie
theater from 1910 until 1930 and later served as a farmers
market until it closed in 1995. PADCO holds a lease on the
building at $1 per year with an option to buy after 20
years. PADCO funds, donations and grants from a variety of
sources are being used to refurbish the structure to its
early 20th century appearance. When reopened, the
performing arts center will create an exciting cultural
attraction in downtown Pottsville. The project should
benefit the local arts scene, increase regional tourism and
create spinoff business for downtown merchants.
Main Street Marketing Assessment
first major effort under the City’s new Main Street program
was to undertake a survey of downtown shoppers, residents and
local business owners. The results of this effort will help the
City design an effective Main Street program that targets the
CBD’s weaknesses and attempts to build on its strengths. While
the market assessment and related analysis are not yet complete,
the following are some important highlights of the preliminary
findings to date.
Return of two-way traffic to
Centre Street, building renovations
and business recruitment efforts have improved the downtown in
The spirit of partnership that exists between business owners
and the City is one of downtown Pottsville’s major
Empty storefronts, perceptions about a parking problem and a
feeling among some people that nothing has really changed are
still significant concerns.
The following are perceived as assets in the downtown area:
Public safety and crime prevention efforts
Relations between business and local financial institutions
Quality of Government services
Pedestrian and traffic circulation
The following are perceived as
weaknesses in the downtown area:
The City’s Business Privilege Tax
The need for more enhancement of public spaces
Empty buildings and vacant storefronts
Lack of attractions that appeal to various age groups
Availability of convenient parking
Residents’s views on what type of stores are needed most in
An in-house restaurant at Yuengling Brewery
More guided tours
A combined "Ethnic Day" celebration
A walking tour map
Fix up the Moose Building
More shopping and tourist attractions
A concert hall
Bus tours of the area
Business District Revitalization Goals
Continue recruiting new business investment in the CBD that
can capitalize on available properties and the CBD’s
Focus on making cultural attractions the next strength of the
downtown to complement the downtown’s current roles as a
government center and a commercial center.
Continue the strong cooperation that exists between the City
and the non-profit agencies that currently work directly or
indirectly for downtown revitalization.
Ensure that financial incentives available for downtown
revitalization assistance are promoted and used to the fullest
Business District Revitalization Recommendations
Focus first on redevelopment of the Keystone Opportunity Zone
sites in or near the downtown:
Majestic Theater: Continue and enhance City financial
support for this very important project, which is key to
positioning Pottsville as a cultural center.
Former Garfield School and Former Yuengling Creamery:
Continue working with the property owners to determine the
best future use of these sites.
Moose Building: Acquire and demolish this building so that
the City can have a clear site to market at this major
Mehlman’s Building: Continue working with the property
owners in their efforts to renovate this building for
expansion of their existing business next door.
Continue the City’s successful facade renovation program
with special additional incentives for adapting downtown
buildings for in-town residential uses.
Proceed with plans to extend streetscape improvements
southward on Centre Street and consider similar improvements
in the future for the west side of intersecting streets such
as Laurel, Arch, Market, etc.
Consider banners, welcome signs, lighting improvements,
landscape enhancements and other ways to beautify the entrance
to the downtown along South Centre Street.
Amend the sign regulations in the City’s zoning ordinance to
help ensure business signs in the downtown are more compatible
with the area’s historic status.
Work with a local architect to prepare a design guidelines
brochure that illustrates the proper ways to complete exterior
Use highly visible vacant storefront windows as places to
showcase the works of local artists.
Encourage demolition of non-historic buildings not suitable
for rehabilitation to create space for new buildings and
Work closely with PADCO to refine the roles and
responsibilities of the new Main Street Manager, who is also
assuming the role of PADCO Executive Director.
Conduct periodic updates to ensure that the Main Street
Manager’s inventory of available space for new business in
the downtown is kept current.
Limit the addition of new management service responsibilities
for the Pottsville Area Development Corporation (PADCO).
Prepare a self-guided walking tour map that highlights points
of interest in and around the downtown area.
Encourage downtown merchants to have periodic extended common
hours, such as on certain Friday nights and during special
Promote joint marketing and complementary merchandising
opportunities among downtown merchants.
Increase the potential for retail sales downtown by
encouraging more downtown businesses to expand their lunch
hours from 30 minutes to 60 minutes.
Promote downtown Pottsville through shopping bags, calendars,
T-shirts, coffee mugs and other items that use a colorful
Develop a pamphlet (with a map) that lists the names, phone
numbers, business hours and location of retailers and service
providers in the downtown.
Expand the use of community-oriented special events to create
more of an entertainment atmosphere that will attract people
to the downtown.
Use the results of the recent marketing assessment to help
refine realistic targets for the Main Street Manager’s
future business recruitment efforts.
Steer future downtown business recruitment towards : a)
specialty niche retailers, b)
business and personal service providers, and c) discount
variety stores, such as Dollar Store—businesses that
generally do not try to compete with large retailers found at
local malls and along highway commercial strips.
Investigate options for revising the City’s business
privilege tax to facilitate business start-ups and other
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