Lancaster City Seeks $5 Million Mayor’s Challenge Grant

Faced with a decaying neighborhood, Lancaster city officials have few options.

The city can add new trash receptacles, erect streetlights, replace park benches and make other investments in public spaces.

For private property, the city can cite the owners under the property maintenance code.

But for wholesale change, it usually must wait for a property to be so blighted that it can be condemned and seized.

Such actions usually are isolated and limited by funding constraints.

But now Lancaster is considering an approach that is both comprehensive and intensely focused.

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Upscale Apartments Coming To Allentown Arena Zone

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

City Center Investment Corp. unveiled plans Friday to build an apartment and retail complex that could bring hundreds of new residents into Allentown‘s evolving downtown by the time the first puck drops at a nearby arena.

A new four-story building at the southwest corner of Seventh and Linden streets would include shops on the first floor and up to 200 upscale apartments across Seventh from the city’s under-construction hockey arena. The apartments, with rents of $1,000 to $1,200, would be available within two years.

The building would be part of a wider plan that involves City Center expanding the vacant Linden Street parking garage to prepare for the arrival of the residents and hundreds of new workers expected downtown by the time the 8,500-seat hockey arena opens in 2014.

“With all that is happening, there is going to be a lot of demand for apartments downtown,” said J.B. Reilly, City Center CEO. “This is the next piece in transforming downtown Allentown into a place where people really can live, work and play.”

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National Penn Bancshares Moving To Allentown

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The state’s fourth-largest bank has decided that downtown Allentown is the right place to grow, in a major recruiting triumph that officials say proves the city is on the cusp of a new era.

National Penn Bancshares Tuesday announced that it will relocate its headquarters into one of the new buildings going up within the city’s unique, hockey arena-inspired tax district. The bank, currently based in Boyertown, Berks County, will bring 275 employees to the 11-story office tower slated for downtown’s main intersection at Hamilton and Seventh Streets.

National Penn’s decision, part of a broader restructuring plan, will make Allentown a major bank’s headquarters for the first time in 25 years, giving credence to city officials who predicted the tax zone and hockey arena project would breathe new life into Allentown’s struggling urban core.

“I think this represents a tipping point for Allentown’s downtown,” Mayor Ed Pawlowski said. “Major corporations are again gaining confidence in Allentown. I expect this to be the first of many similar developments.”

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A Tip Of The Hat To Berks Park 78

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Equipment from area construction companies pointed to the reason Gov. Tom Corbett was standing Friday in an open field in Bethel Township.

PetSmart Inc. was about to begin work on a new 870,000-square-foot distribution center in the Berks Park 78 industrial center.

The $50 million project is expected to be completed by early 2014 and eventually create 500 permanent jobs in the region by 2016.

The site off Interstate 78 and Route 501 is ideal because it’s within one long day’s ride of 60 percent of the eastern United States, Corbett said.

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East Penn Plans Multimillion-Dollar Manufacturing Plant

East Penn Manufacturing Co. Inc. announced plans Tuesday for a $80 million to $100 million manufacturing plant on the battery maker’s campus near Lyons.
Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

The proposed plant would create more than 300 jobs when fully functional and at capacity, according to Graham G. Anderson, vice president of facilities, engineering and maintenance at East Penn.

East Penn expects to produce industrial and automotive batteries there. The industrial batteries are material-handling vehicles used in warehouses, such as forklifts, said Anderson, who is in charge of the project.

Daniel R. Langdon, president of East Penn, said, “It will be a multifaceted facility and flexible enough to be able to support growth in all segments of lead acid batteries.”

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