Developers Unveil $30 Million Complex In Allentown Arena Zone

English: City of Allentown from east side

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

Developers announced plans today for a five-story apartment and retail complex to be built across Seventh Street from the hockey arena.

Shouting above the construction of two office building a hotel and an arena already under construction, officials from City Center Corp. and Pennrose Properties announced plans for $30 million, five-story building that is to include 160 upscale apartments, as many as 10 shops and a 125-space underground parking lot.

Located on Seventh Street, between Hamilton and Linden, the new building will also extend the city’s existing Artswalk by converting a small parking lot into a pocket park that will include colored and pattern concrete pathway, seating and sculpture displays.

“This project is another significant step toward making downtown Allentown a fun, exciting, vibrant, walkable community,” said J.B. Reilly, CEO of City Center Lehigh Valley. “We plan to create a lively environment adjacent to the arena and hotel by blending dynamic retail, great restaurants with outdoor seating, park space and stylish apartments with the culture of the artswalk.”

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Condo Project Intended To Give Lift To Pittston

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PITTSTON, PA — Shovels moved the first dirt Thursday for a 30-unit residential project along the Susquehanna River bank that most people agreed has been a decade-long labor of love.

The Riverfront Condominium, a residential building that for the past 10 years existed only on paper and in the imaginations of city officials and architects, promises to be the crowned star of Pittston, arguably the Wyoming Valley, it backers say.

“This is a long time coming,” Joe Chacke, Pittston Redevelopment Authority’s executive director, said.

The project’s original engineer, Alex Belavitz, whose firm is still the condominium’s official engineer after all these years, said public/private partnerships always bring obstacles. The $9 million construction uses $4 million in state grants — $1.5 million from a gaming tax grant and $2.5 million assigned by Gov. Tom Corbett.

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Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority Advances Plan To Fund East Liberty Improvements

Locator map with the East Liberty neighborhood...

Locator map with the East Liberty neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority board is pushing ahead with a plan to divert a large portion of real estate and parking tax revenue from a host of projects in or near East Liberty to help fund road, pedestrian and other improvements in the area.

Board members will vote Thursday on a proposal to create an East Liberty Transit Revitalization Investment District in which 75 percent of the new real estate and parking tax revenue generated by development within half a mile of the East Liberty stop on the East Busway would be used for infrastructure improvements.

Also Thursday, the board is expected to vote on $500,000 in loans to help clear the way for Fifth Avenue Pub and Lofts, a proposed restaurant and apartment development across the street from Consol Energy Center. It would mark the first major private development to take place in that area since the arena opened in 2010.

The transit revitalization investment district in some ways works like a tax increment financing district, only it typically involves a broader area and is utilized for a host of projects, not just one.

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Tionesta Market Village Plan Unveiled

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Forest County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Forest County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tionesta’s long-vacant downtown will be given a jump-start this spring with the creation of the Tionesta Market Village. The Forest County IDA and IDC have partnered up and completed plans to establish this addition to the main street on the southern of the two IDA-owned lots, now known as the “Gazebo Lot”.  This site will become the home of several custom-built small scale retail buildings designed to look like 1800s store fronts, fronted by a wide walkway for shoppers and offering a variety of small retail establishments.

While the IDA owns the property, the IDC is funding this project and is now searching for new start-ups or small home-based businesses looking to move into a small retail space.  This is an attempt to fill two needs: providing small, high-visibility retail space to small businesses and making use of the vacant property until a permanent development is established.

“Over the past couple of years there have been several individuals that have expressed an interest in starting a small business in downtown Tionesta.” says Dick Johnson, owner of Forest Hardware in Tionesta and Vice President of the Forest County IDC.  “Two of the biggest drawbacks are the lack of available space and the cost of building new.”  He hopes that the Market Village will give those people an “economically feasible way to get their new ventures up and running.”

IDC president, Farley Wright, says “The project is a unique, low-risk, high potential reward grass roots effort to increase the attraction and traffic to the community.  It’s an opportunity, without relying on governmental funding, to assist local folks as well as benefit our community.”  In answer to why this type of use for the property, he adds “Sometimes you can’t wait for others to provide the solutions; and while there may be detractors (nay-sayers) to the project, I know of no one that has presented a better idea.  We can support the effort and contribute to its success, or we can deride it and it may fail…….but at least we are doing something.”

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