Proposed 33-Story Tower In Allentown Draws Mixed Reaction

English: City of Allentown from east side

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

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.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-allentown-landmark-tower-office-space-20130328,0,5118434.story

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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.”

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-allentown-pa-arena-two-city-center-20121019,0,883946.story

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.”

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-national-penn-relocation-allentown-20121016,0,2008673.story