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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First New Businesses Arrive In Arena Zone

English: City of Allentown from east side

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Allentown‘s hockey arena won’t open until at least 2013, but the first of the office employees it is expected to attract have already started to arrive.

More than 70 workers from Lehigh Gas Corp. and West Park Insurance are moving onto Hamilton Street this week, the first trickle of what is projected to be hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of new workers attracted to what city officials hope will become the Lehigh Valley‘s new financial district.

The new companies moved into the Wells Fargo bank building at 702 Hamilton St., the new headquarters for City Center Investment Corp., which was created to develop properties around the proposed hockey arena. A third company, a yet-to-be-named engineering firm, is scheduled to move in early next year.

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Allentown Mayor Declares Arena Will Create A “New Allentown”

City of Allentown from east side

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Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski on Tuesday made his stance perfectly clear to more than two dozen people angry that their properties would be demolished to make way for a new hockey arena — team up with the city or take a chance in court…,0,6024798.story

$80 Million Minor League Hockey Arena Possibly Coming To 7th And Hamilton Streets In Downtown Allentown

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

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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.