MEP Renovations - 8th & Penn Street Bldg.

Berks County Convention Center Authority Reading, PA



The Penn National Bank Building was originally constructed in 1929, as replica of Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia. The bank closed in 1933, and has since changed ownership and occupants many times in the ensuing decades. In 1999, the 24,000 sf, three-story brick and terra cotta building was purchased by the Berks County Convention Center Authority (BCCCA).

Entech recently helped BCCCA complete a major interior renovation of the building. Entech was the lead of the A/E team, providing MEP engineering design and construction services to lay the foundation for a multiuse building that will feature a bar/restaurant, and meeting/event space.

Solution Details

Shortly after acquiring the building, BCCCA completed a historical renovation on the building’s exterior, but without the further funding needed, it lay otherwise unimproved and unoccupied for years. Recently, a $1.5M matching grant through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), allowed this phase of renovations to commence.

Entech was selected to provide design and construction services for the project including architectural (subcontracted to Aurora Architecture), mechanical (HVAC, plumbing and fire suppression), electrical (power, lighting and fire alarm), and structural. Structural design included a new entrance, steel reinforcing of building steel, floor repairs, new stairs to basement, elevator shaft, and infill for areas on first each floor where existing stairs were removed.

The design allocated space for a future restaurant and bar that would occupy portions of the 1st and 2nd floors as well as a commercial kitchen area, elevator, stair tower, and restrooms. The remaining portion of the 2nd and the 3rd floor are intended to be used for meeting/event space. The basement and 3rd floor were brought up to code, but are otherwise unfinished.

The project will need additional funding for completion of the next scheduled phases. Once completed and occupied this building will once again be a focal point of downtown Reading.

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$3M total project cost

24,000 sq.ft. renovation