WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- What was once the largest pajama factory in the world, may soon be getting a makeover. The complex on Park Avenue in Williamsport expects to add shops, restaurants, and apartments. Thanks to a $2 million grant funded by state taxpayer dollars.
“We've just invested another million dollars and we've just run out of money so it's like, ‘ok, now what are we going to do?' and this comes at our doorstep. So, it was a great surprise and we are really looking forward to moving the project along,” Pajama Factory co-owner Mark Winkleman said.
The plans for the Pajama Factory call for a new parking lot, a rooftop garden and bar, and 65 apartments.
“This is a very unique place, the Pajama Factory. It’s got an artistic element, there is retail here. There is nothing else quite like it, nothing else at all like it in Williamsport,” Williamsport City Council President Randy Allison said.
“Actually, if you look around the area there is not a lot of other places like pajama factory, you know you have to go into the larger urban centers to be able to see that. For us to have this here, it’s very unique,” President and CEO of Williamsport Lycoming Chamber of Commerce Jason Fink said.
Co-owner Mark Winkleman says he's been working to transform the Pajama Factory since he bought the complex 12 years ago.
“We take this idea, we bring it here and we didn’t know if it would really work but it has worked. We've got a waiting list for tenants that want to come in and it’s changed the vibe of the town,” Winkleman said.
Local businesses such as the Rust and Shine behind me believe the $2 million grant won't only benefit the Pajama Factory, they believe the money will go a long way for not only their business but for the entire area.
“I think it’s awesome because we share essentially a building and a complex and this gives him the funds and the resources to finish his dream which will help build up the whole the complex, the whole area,” co-owner of Rust and Shine Amber Kastner said.