Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan announced Thursday the design of several grant-funded projects aimed at sprucing up the “front door” to southeast Bethlehem.
Those projects will include building a gathering space at the popular SkatePlaza, an economic analysis of how to redevelop properties, wayfinding signs and connections from the rails-to-trails park to neighborhoods.
The profiles of the neighborhoods near E. Fourth Street and Daley Avenue are quickly rising as the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem continues to draw visitors and Route 412 expands to accommodate more traffic.
“With changes that have taken place here, the eastern gateway is the new front door of Bethlehem,” Mayor John Callahan said at a news conference at the Forte Building.
California billionaire Ed Roski Jr.’s company plans to build what could become the Lehigh Valley‘s largest warehousing facility on a remote part of the former Bethlehem Steel plant.
Plans scheduled to go before the Bethlehem Planning Commission next week show a 1.75 million-square-foot warehouse and manufacturing facility at 3215 Commerce Center Blvd.
That’s nearly 50 percent bigger than the 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse Liberty Property Trust built last year on another portion of the former plant, and nearly twice as big as the Nestle warehouse off Interstate 78 in Lehigh County.
Pete Reinke, vice president of business development at Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp., said he knew of no other warehouse in the Valley bigger than what Majestic is proposing.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As the U.S. moves forward in bolstering its nuclear technology and power grids, one of the Lehigh Valley‘s longest-standing manufacturing companies stands to benefit in terms of job creation and expansion.
Bethlehem-based Lehigh Heavy Forge, the only remaining super heavy forging operation in the country and the largest open die forging process in the Western Hemisphere, will see more jobs come on line in the next 10 years as the result of a partnership announced Wednesday with the Babcock & Wilcox Co., a provider of clean energy technology to nuclear and renewable power markets.
At a press conference Wednesday at the company facility adjacent to the Sands Casino on grounds once occupied by Bethlehem Steel, company President Jim Romeo said Lehigh Heavy Forge will see about 100 engineering and manufacturing jobs created by 2022 as a result of the contract with Babcock & Wilcox to provide forgings for small modular reactors.
“It is with great anticipation that we look forward to our partnership with B&W,” said Romeo, who was joined at the podium by Christofer Mowry, president of Babcock & Wilcox mPower, and Gov. Tom Corbett.
The Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority approved this week a $10 million bond that will help pay for the next round of infrastructure projects for redeveloping Bethlehem Steel property.
The projects include hundreds of new paved parking spots and an elevated walkway on what was once known as the Hoover Mason Trestle. The century-old trestle was used by Steel to move fuel from the ore yard, where the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem sits, to the blast furnaces, which is now the backdrop for indoor and outdoor concerts at SteelStacks.
“We want to make sure the investment we make is both strategic and relevant enough that it will stimulate additional development on the site,” said Tony Hanna, executive director of the Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority.
The project totals nearly $16 million worth of improvements and a second bond is expected to be taken out next year.
The City of Bethlehem is not on the fuzzy end of the lollipop when it comes to economic development. Mayor John Callahan announced a list of eleven projects that total $186 million in development for the City of Bethlehem.
Projects to be completed or under construction in 2011:
A goal that emerged from the Build York Summit, that concluded yesterday, was for York to become a walkable community. We here at Roy’s Rants think is a great goal. York has a compact and very historic downtown like Lancaster and Bethlehem.
Urban land use expert, Chris Leinberger from the Brookings Institute was a keynote speaker at the conference and emphasized that York should embrace the “walkable community” strategy to redevelop the city. Walkable communities are desired by college students as well as other segments of the population. Walkable communities have a higher rate of retention once students graduate college and seek employment. York is already a college town so this strategy could be easily implemented and bear fruit quickly.
Downtown Inc. Director, Sonia Huntzinger took this a step further and said York could also capitalize on the city’s hospitals. Hospitals tend to be large employers. Having a vibrant, walkable downtown to present to prospective employees would make recruitment easier for the hospitals.
Check this out! It is a very well done website promoting the iron heritage of three communities on the Susquehanna River.
I lived in Lancaster and never realized that Columbia, Marietta and Wrightsville were former iron producing centers. Pottstown certainly has a long, rich heritage of iron and steel production going back to John Potts. If we are looking for things to capitalize on to make Pottstown a “destination” like Bethlehem is for Musikfest this would certainly be something to promote, would it not?
Click on the link below to view the website. Under Features is the information on the iron furnaces but the site is a good example on how to capitalize on something!
Communities in the Lehigh Valley have actively pursued and received development grants from the Rendell administration that will convert brownfields, attract industry and provide jobs!
$4.5 millions dollars will be received to convert the former Dixie Cup factory in Wilson (Easton) into an apartment and condominium complex.
$2.5 million dollars will be received to create a waste-to-energy plant (sludge burning) in Allentown.
$10 million dollars will be received to lure a yet to be named Fortune 500 Company to the Lehigh Valley.
$1.5 million dollars will be received toward converting the Farr building in Bethlehem into an Irish pub and apartments.
In other news, Allentown is promoting green energy by placing solar panels on industrial roof space. 420 solar panels were placed on the roof of the Bridgeworks Industrial Center in March. Since their installation, the panels are generating enough energy to power five homes for a year (112,000 kilowatt hours a year)!
There are millions of square feet of roof space that solar panels can be placed on in the Lehigh Valley. This project was funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority. Can anyone think of another community that has a vast amount of industrial roof space that could benefit from a grant like this?
Excess energy is sold back to the power company. The city will make about $15,000.00 a year from selling the excess energy generated by the solar panels. Solar panels reduce the reliance on power plants and fossil fuels.
Another hint here… the state has funded 1,500 other projects across the state. What a neat way to use brownfields.
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA is a technology job incubator, housing 24 early stage technology companies, located on the campus of Lehigh University. The $17 million dollar expansion will add 47,000 square feet to the building which houses the incubator.
The building expansion will increase the number of companies able to be housed from 24 to 40 and the number of people employed will increase from 118 to 200!
Ben Franklin Technology Partners applied for and successfully received a $6 million dollar grant from the Recovery Act through the U.S. Commerce Department. Vice-President Joe Biden will on hand for the April 15th for ground-breaking.