Former Hamburg Item building possible location of new restaurant

Item Photo by Brian Dowlin The new owner of the building that formerly housed The Hamburg Area Item has plans of turning the structure into a restaurant/bar.

The building that formerly housed the operations of The Hamburg Area Item may have a very different look in the future.

James Webb, 59, a Boyertown resident who is the former owner of the building and The Item, sold the property located on the corner of Third and State streets in Hamburg to Sinking Spring resident Bernie Phillips for $50,000. The sale was finalized on Thursday.

Phillips, 53, has plans of renovating the entire inside of the building and turning the structure into a restaurant/bar with a section that contains televisions and is geared toward sports. Renovation of the property is set to begin immediately.

Ill basically strip the whole building down to the bare walls, said Phillips. Im going to take it apart right away.

The vision Phillips has for the building includes cutting out the center of the floor on the second story of the structure, out from the back wall, to form a U-shaped seating arrangement. Patrons of the establishment could then eat their meals while on the second floor and take in the action on the first floor.

According to Phillips, there may be a steel beam in the middle of the floor that would force him to have one row of seating that goes straight down the middle of the second floor, and then have two holes where patrons can look down to the first floor.

Phillips said renovations will cost anywhere from $100,000-$300,000.

Two aspects of the building Phillips plans on addressing right away are placing new windows upstairs and repointing the masonry work on the exterior of the building, which according to the building code inspector poses a risk of pieces falling down and injuring someone.

One issue that Phillips will address, although it is not mandated by borough codes, is parking for the business. Phillips said he has some ideas of how he will address parking but he will not divulge his plans due to the release of his strategy causing a rise in the purchase price for a desired property. The new building owner also noted that he is counting on a lot of walk-in business from around town

If the original plan for the building does not come to fruition for Phillips, 53, a maintenance supervisor at Materion Brush in Shoemakersville who has purchased real estate on the side for 23 years, he plans on renting commercial space to interested businesses.

Calls have already been fielded from many businesses interested in renting office space in the building, including such industries as chiropractic, accounting, and photography. Potential income from monthly rental fees of the space ranges from $3,000-$3,500, according to Phillips.

But whatever he decides to do with the building, Phillips said local residents will be captivated with the new look.

I can tell you one thing, when I get done with that place youll be impressed, said Phillips. It will be like nothing else around here.