Excitement stirs with next phase of Pajama Factory

The Pajama Factory, an eight-building complex in the block bound by Park Avenue, Rose Street, Memorial Avenue and Cemetery Street, recently was approved for a highly competitive, $2 million state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant.

Owner Mark Winkelman is well on his way already toward his goal of creating a thriving creative incubator in that block of buildings that for years sat mostly vacant.  He’s been at it for just over a decade, having purchased the complex in 2008. So far, he has realized success in renting 130 spaces within the complex’s 300,000 square feet. Although known primarily for its role with the arts, a majority of the space so far has been rented to small businesses. …

Next up will be loft residences and a destination restaurant with indoor seating, a courtyard and rooftop dining. Plans are to add more retail space adjacent to the restaurant and an environmentally friendly rain garden on the roof to help control stormwater runoff.

Winkelman expects the next phase of his project to cost up to $4.5 million. Toward that end, he is eligible as a private business to be a sub-applicant with the city for the state matching grant that will reimburse him with up to $2 million for construction costs.

The RACP program is intended to spur economic and cultural development that may not otherwise happen without funding assistance.


To read the full article, please click on the link… http://www.sungazette.com/opinion/editorials/2019/08/excitement-stirs-with-next-phase-of-pajama-factory/

Leave a Comment

Pajama Factory to build rooftop restaurant, more with state grant

Ariel view of Factory

By Mark Maroney

The Pajama Factory, a city-based creative incubator used by the artistic community, recently received a $2 million state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant for additional proposed construction.

Owner Mark Winkelman proposes up to a $4.5 million repurposing of the factory at 1307 Park Ave. with a restaurant, which will have rooftop dining, additional paved parking spaces, lofts for work/living and a rain garden to help with stormwater runoff.

Over the past decade or so, the factory has provided work space for artists in a variety of formats. There is also a small coffee shop at the lower level, Way Cool Beans — a gathering spot to have a cup of java and chat with some friends or listen to music. Winkelman said the restaurant will have a similar “vibe.”

The grant was awarded by the State Office of Budget as a way to repurpose the facility into more of a mixed-use approach.

He would like to see initial construction begin in winter. For tax credit purposes, the project is to be done in two years.

“I believe that one of the reasons the Pajama Factory was selected is because we have consistently expressed a vision for broad economic development with the Factory playing a central and driving role in that vision,” Winkelman said.

To read the full article, just click on the link… http://www.sungazette.com/news/top-news/2019/08/pajama-factory-to-build-rooftop-restaurant-more-with-state-grant/

Leave a Comment

Way Cool Collaboration

Williamsport is a city rich in community and collaboration. A perfect example of this kind of community can be found in Way Cool Beans, a coffee shop located in the Pajama Factory, 1307 Park Ave., Building 6, Suite 1. Todd Foresman, owner of Way Cool Beans and hospitable friend of many, has created distinct collaborations with two chocolatiers and one brewery in the area – Lang’s Chocolates, 350 Pine St., Therapy Brewing, opening May 2019 four miles north of Pennsdale on QC Road; and Purity Candy, 18047 Route 15, Allenwood.  Although these collaborations can be considered new, Foresman’s roots with Lang’s, Purity and Therapy run deeper.

Leave a Comment

Factory Works Gallery set to host ‘Jonathan Preston: Why?’ exhibit

Factory Works Gallery at the Pajama Factory invites you to “Jonathan Preston: Why?,” an exhibition of street art-influenced paintings by Bellefonte/State College-based artist Jonathan Preston, Feb. 1-21, with an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. February 1, 1307 Park Avenue, Studio 9-210. This is Preston’s first exhibition both at Factory Works Gallery and in William­sport.

An abstract expressionist painter, Preston currently resides in Bellefonte.

Taking an interest in art at a young age, Preston began painting community murals in grade school and drawing was a big hobby of his as well. After high school, he attended Penn State University as an English major.

“I went through school focused on sports and music,” he said. “I was a drummer and ended up touring in punk rock bands. It was then that my love of art and fashion came back.”

After some touring in the band and a year at Penn State, Preston transferred to The Art Institute of Philadelphia to study menswear design.

Preston’s personal work kept growing after he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he worked in fashion and music but kept a small home studio. After leaving fashion and another stint as a touring musician, he moved back to Central PA and continued working on art as well as street art.

Preston has shown his work at several galleries since moving to State College six years ago.

Leave a Comment

Pajama Factory set for Seventh Annual Blues Bash

Kick off your New Year’s Eve festivities and ring in 2019 with one of Williamsport’s biggest celebrations in town, as WXPI Community Radio presents the Seventh Annual New Year’s Blues Bash at 6 p.m. Dec. 30, in the Community Room at the Pajama Factory, 1307 Park Avenue.  Produced by Enduring Star Productions and Pajama Factory LLC, this fundraising concert event will benefit WXPI 88.5 Community Radio Station and will feature local talent Stacia Abernatha & Gabe Stillman, plus an Eric Clapton tribute with Sean Farley and David Lynn, Miss Melanie & the Valley Rats from State College, and the headliner, America’s oldest touring blues band, The Nighthawks.

Fred Daniele of Franco’s Restaurant and Music Club, Enduring Star Productions and producer of Blues Bash, is a long-standing supporter and promoter of the Blues scene in the Williamsport area and started this event as a New Year’s Eve EVE Party. “Our New Year’s Blues Bash at the Pajama Factory has emerged as one of the region’s best holiday party events,” Daniele said. “World class entertainment in this casual venue space, this event is the perfect pre-New Year’s Eve night out during the limbo week between Christmas and New Year’s.”

A few years into the event, Daniele was on the hunt for a new venue — that’s when Mark Winkelman, owner of the Pajama Factory and producer of Blues Bash, stepped in to offer the Pajama Factory. The event then evolved into a benefit concert that raises money to support local, non-profit companies in the area. “We have designated the Pajama Factory’s Community Room to serve as a venue for our tenants and the local community, in particular non-profit organizations from the Williamsport area,” Winkelman said. “In the past, Factory Works has been the beneficiary of this concert event. Other non-profits that have been able to utilize the venue for their events are AIDS Resource, ACES North America, PA Wilds, Studio 570, Lyco Taiko, the Spectrum Society and many more.”

Danielle Velkoff is head of Events and Business Development at the Pajama Factory and works closely with both Daniele and Winkelman to bring their vision for this event to life. “I handle logistics while Fred coordinates all the bands and musical talent for the event, along with the branding,” she said. “We all work together on ticket sales as proceeds from the event go towards the non-profit we are supporting. This year, we’re are raising funds for the local, community radio station WXPI 88.5 FM.”

Leave a Comment

Woodshop gets veterans connected with each other

John Meyer, right, co-manager of The Williamsport Community Woodshop, instructs Jessica Morgan, who is making a cigar box.

On most crisp fall mornings, the whirling of machines, hammering and laughter emanate from a woodshop on Memorial Avenue and area veterans joined the clattering chorus on Saturday.

The Williamsport Community Woodshop, in the Pajama Factory, often opens it doors to veterans with the Wounded Warrior Project.

Tim Higgins, a retired corporal of the Army’s 101st Airborne, volunteers his time at both the woodshop and Veterans Affairs to coordinate events.

“I just wanted to offer a program to try to get vets to come and talk to other vets to understand what they’re going through and see if there’s anything else we can help them with,” Higgins said. “I found that you never see any veterans that are all shut in, when you’re in the military, you have someone to watch your back at all times you know what’s going to happen and then on one day they say you’re discharged. Some of these kids, they just don’t know what to do.”

Higgins said the goal is to get veterans to come and talk to other veterans who understand what they’re going through and see if there’s anything they need help with.

*Photo by DEREK DANNEKER/Sun-Gazette Correspondent

Leave a Comment

New York comedian comes to Pajama Factory

Some New York comedy will be coming to the Pajama Factory as a way to raise money for South Youth Football and Cheer.

Jason Andors, who appeared on and associate-produced Showtime’s White Boyz in the Hood, is headlining the 7 p.m. Saturday comedy show, which will be held at Clearstory. Doors open at 6 p.m. Food trucks will be on site and a cash bar will be available.

Audience members can expect “a dysfunctional New York comedian,” he said.

“I still can’t explain what my style of comedy is,” Andors said. “It’s a total mix of everything together because of the way I grew up in public schools in New York City with all ethnicities, gay and straight people. I’m comfortable around everybody.”

However, one thing he can promise is an edgy show.

Leave a Comment

Factory Works Gallery director provides enriching environment for artists

Located within the revitalized historic Pajama Factory complex, 1307 Park Ave., Factory Works Gallery is a space for artists to experiment materially and conceptually, and for the community to engage with work that challenges notions of what art looks like.

Founded in 2011, Factory Works is a nonprofit arts and community organization whose mission is to provide the local community with resources for nurturing artists and innovative thinkers, to ignite a spirit of creativity.

That’s where Factory Works Gallery director Brian Spies comes in.

Spies has been involved with the Pajama Factory since 2008. He was one of the first tenants after owner Mark Winkleman bought the building outright.

“Our goals are to provide the tools, space and supportive environment for members of the local community to engage in healthy activities that lead to positive personal and professional growth,” Spies said. “We offer educational opportunities and shop access to a variety of disciplines through classes, workshops, memberships and special cultural events.”

Leave a Comment

Creative entrepreneurs influence community at the Pajama Factory

Network with creative entrepreneurs throughout the region at a one-day educational event hosted by the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. (PA Wilds Center) and The Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania (WCO), on Friday at the Pajama Factory, 1307 Park Ave. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

At the Creative Entrepreneurs Conference, attendees have the opportunity to network, learn about practical skills and practices in marketing, wholesaling and capitalizing on outdoor recreations, all while utilizing the PA Wilds Design Guide for Community Character Stewardship.

The PA Wilds Design Guide utilizes planning that highlights how to protect and enhance communities through growth, said Abbi Peters, managing director, PA Wilds Center. The guide is perfect for developers, business owners, community leaders and many more.

This event “engages members in program strategies, networking and professional development,” Peters said. “Our creative artists and entrepreneurs influence our regional brand and visitor experience in a unique way.”

Leave a Comment

Factory Works Gallery presenting ‘Close to Home’ exhibition

Factory Works Gallery and The Pajama Factory Artists In Residence Program at the Pajama Factory invite you to “Close to Home: The 2018 Pajama Factory Artist In Residence Pop Up Closing Exhibition,” from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 2, 1307 Park Avenue, Studio 9-210.

“The Pajama Factory Artists In Residence Pop Up Closing Exhibition is the culmination of our yearly Artists In Residence Program,” said Factory Works director Brian Spies.

This year’s artists, who all reside in and around Williamsport, were chosen to participate in this year’s program with the stated intention of creating work larger in scale and scope than their usual working space would allow. Creating works in mediums as varied as fibers, sculpture, painting and photography, they represent a diverse array of practices emblematic of the spirit the Pajama Factory Artist In Residence Program has embodied since its inception.

Leave a Comment