Allentown: A New Beginning


Lehigh County Lands In Economic Growth Top 10

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

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

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.

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Allentown’s Arena Document Forecasts Expansive Development Downtown

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)

Allentown‘s hockey arena will not open until 2014, but when it does it will help spur almost runaway development in a downtown that has been ravaged by three decades of decay, according to bond documents filed Friday.

The 354-page statement for investors interesting in buying $234 million paints a rosy future in which the next 12 years will bring not only the 8,500-seat hockey arena, but more than 1 million square feet of office space, two hotels, retail shops, a convention center, a 12-screen cinema and hundreds of apartments.

All told, the study by CSL International forecasts that Allentown’s unique 127-acre Neighborhood Improvement Zone will create 7,500 new jobs and $44 million in annual state and local taxes.

At least that’s the pitch being made to investors who in the coming weeks will be able to buy $235 million worth of revenue bonds to get the complex at Seventh and Hamilton streets started.

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Resort Plans Big Poconos Water Park

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County

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

A resort developer has its eyes on the Poconos, planning what could be the biggest project in the region’s history – a combination indoor water park, convention center and hotel.

The Wisconsin-based Kalahari Resorts is eying the site of the historic Inn at Pocono Manor for the project.

The company operates similar facilities in Sandusky, Ohio, and Wisconsin Dells, Wis., both major resort destinations. The proposal for Tobyhanna Township is massive. At a meeting with municipal officials in July, Kalahari officials said the project could include a 300,000-square-foot water park, a convention center and could employ as many as 1,500 employees.

The project is in its early stages. The company has not submitted specific plans to local officials or acquired any property or permits. Officials at Kalahari have declined to comment beyond a prepared statement about their excitement over the project. But the wheels are in motion.

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Jaindl Jumping Into Allentown’s Waterfront Development

English: City of Allentown from east side

Image via Wikipedia

Jaindl Properties has jumped into the fray of developers looking to cash in on Allentown’s new downtown taxing district.

Jaindl on Tuesday announced plans to develop the 26-acre Lehigh Structural Steel site into what could be offices, shops and town homes along the Lehigh River. The arrival of the banker-turned-developer revived a waterfront plan by Dunn Twiggar Co. that has been dormant for three years.

Under the deal, Jaindl, whose family name has become synonymous in the Valley with Thanksgiving turkey and land development, and Dunn Twiggar will partner to buy the land from Lehigh Structural Street for an undisclosed price.

From there, they plan to devise a new master plan, match it with what city officials have been planning and then use local and state revenues from the city’s new Neighborhood Improvement Zone to build it.

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Former Bank In Wilkes-Barre Given New Life

Pennsylvania state map with a dot on Wilkes-Ba...

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A former bank building on the fringe of downtown Wilkes-Barre is being transformed into a mixed-use residential/commercial property.

The former South Side Bank has been renovated and will feature 16 new apartments on the upper floors.  The apartments will be renting this summer.  The owner, Sam Johnson, is turning the first floor into a bar/restaurant/lounge.  The restaurant will be mid-priced and feature an All-American menu.

Johnson spent $2.2 million on this adaptive reuse project that began in 2009.  The apartments will feature hardwood floors, stainless appliances, central air, granite counter tops and other high-end features.  The apartments will be between 800 – 1000 square feet.

The building is at the corner of South Main and Ross Streets.  The restaurant and bar will be called South Side WB.

The South Side WB Facebook page with exterior picture:!/pages/South-Side-WB/180953501189?v=wall

Harsco Corporation Turning Little Used Site Near Capitol Into Regional Warehouse And Distribution Center

Recreation of the flag of the city of Harrisbu...

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The City of Harrisburg is going to benefit from more urban renewal when Harsco Corporation turns a 21-acre site near the Pennsylvania State Capitol into a regional warehouse and distribution center.

The number of jobs created is relatively small at 20; however the site gets cleaned up and given a purpose.  Considering its proximity to our State Capitol Complex, this is good news as it will enhance the appearance the area surrounding the capitol.  Harsco is spending $2 million to renovate the site which is a significant investment in the City of Harrisburg.  The improvements should be completed by April.

More good news is that Harsco will be relocating 35 senior-level positions to a new site near its Camp Hill headquarters.  This move will help Harsco’s leadership function as a more unified team.

To learn more about this company, you may click on their website: