Talk about a major revitalization coup! Allentown appears to be getting an arena, possibly at 7th and Hamilton Sts., for a minor league hockey team. This was reported on Channel 69 News last night as well as being written about in many Pennsylvania newspapers, including the Morning Call.
The possibilities of spin-off businesses from a project this large are tremendous. Downtown Allentown would certainly benefit from this huge investment. Personally, since Hess’s closed I do not have a reason to shop downtown anymore. It would be nice to have a reason to spend time and money in downtown Allentown again.
The arena would have about 10,000 seats and be home ice for the Phantoms, a feeder team for the Flyers. When not being used for hockey games the facility could host various large events in Allentown, which would bring thousands into the central business district (much like the Sovereign Center in Reading does).
After the Phantoms were kicked out of the Spectrum, they moved to Glen Falls, NY. Allentown was chosen as their new home so an arena needs to be constructed to house the team. This will happen sooner than later.
Additional parking may need to be added as about 4,000 off-street parking spaces are available in center city Allentown. If the downtown site does not work out, due to logistics, other sites around Allentown are being considered as well. A new taxing district will be established to fund most of the cost of the arena.
Lehigh County is also hoping for a center city site due to the obstacles associated with developing the riverfront and the time involved to do so.
Hopefully all the stars will align and Allentown (Pennsylvania’s third largest city) can reap a huge economic harvest from this project.