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.”
It’s hard to imagine: a tall, pencil-like building that would jut into the Allentown sky, permanently altering the city’s landscape.
Lehigh Valley Developer Bruce Loch’s proposal to transform a 4,000-square-foot grassy plot in the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone into a 33-story high-rise is so unusual it has spurred conversation across the region.
For many, it’s an exciting prospect — a sign that developers have faith in Allentown’s urban core. Others have questions about the proposal, such as how a footprint so small could support a structure that would eclipse the Lehigh Valley’s tallest buildings by at least 20 feet.
Amy Hawley, an Allentown commercial and industrial real estate broker, commended Loch for wanting to build downtown, but questioned whether local businesses are ready for such a radical change in floor plan.
Winston Barnes sits at a table overlooking Seventh Street, the harmonious smell of cinnamon, scallions and allspice enveloping his Jamaican restaurant.
On this winter night, when other city restaurants are deserted, customers will go to Winston’s for its signature hot jerk chicken, curry goat and other savory Caribbean favorites — a sign of the subtle renaissance that is taking place on what was once one of Allentown‘s most problematic streets.
A cold blast of air floods the store as two customers emerge from the night, bundled in jackets.
“Hey! How you doing, man?” Barnes says loudly, his tired eyes coming to life as he recognizes the federal workers who stand before him.
The concrete foundation of Allentown‘s $272 million arena complex has begun to rise at Seventh and Hamilton streets, along with the number of yellow-vested construction workers.
It is a welcome sight to an army of local tradesmen whose livelihoods took a beating in the Great Recession.
For ironworker Carl Graves, 33, of Easton, the arena project didn’t just put him back to work in a tough construction market, it gave him his family back.
With construction in the Lehigh Valley at a near halt the past four years, Graves has had to accept jobs as far as 100 miles away. During his six months working on a job at New York University Medical Center last year, the four-hour round-trip commute left him little time to spend with his wife and sons, ages 5 and 1.
A national economic development firm says Lehigh County is poised for rapid future economic growth and investment.
The Pittsburgh-based company, Fourth Economy, ranked the county seventh in the U.S. among “large-sized” counties with populations between 150,000 and 499,999.
The company ranked counties based on investment, talent, sustainability, place and diversity, and looked at wage and employment growth, education levels, drive times, home values, minority business ownership, agricultural and manufacturing capacity and population density.
Developers on Tuesday unveiled a $250 million plan to convert Allentown’s long-deteriorating riverfront into a complex of office and residential buildings, a project funded by the one-of-a-kind tax zone that’s powering the downtown hockey arena.
The gritty industrial mish-mash along the west bank of the Lehigh River from Allen Street past the Tilghman Street Bridge would be replaced by The Waterfront, a strip of 12 glass-and-steel office buildings, walking trails and apartments.
Waterfront Redevelopment Partners presented the quarter-billion-dollar plan to the city’s Planning Commission, proposing 610,000 square feet of offices, 130,000 square feet of retail and 172 apartments on a 26-acre property that was home to Lehigh Structural Steel, once an anchor of city industry.
The Waterfront would be linked to Route 22 by the soon-to-be built American Parkway bridge, and expands what city officials hoped would be the companion piece of the Neighborhood Improvement Zone, the financing tool behind downtown revitalization around Seventh and Hamilton streets, site of the arena now under construction.