Fifteen Easton properties, including the Gov. Wolf Building and Simon Silk Mill, are among those approved for state tax incentives aimed at getting the properties redeveloped, officials announced this afternoon.
The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. said the properties have been granted Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone status, meaning they’d be exempt from state and local taxes for a decade.
In addition to the Easton properties, the long-abandoned Dixie Cup factory in Wilson Borough also qualified for the status, the LVEDC says in a news release.
The designation marks a significant victory for local officials and developers who have been trying to get new, and in some cases ambitious, projects off the ground.
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.
At least one tenant for Easton’s proposed intermodal center is signed for what passes for perpetuity these days — 99 years.
City Council approved a master lease Wednesday night for the yet-to-be-built intermodal, inking the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority to a long-term deal in return for an upfront payment of $7.2 million. The lease with LANTA is through the city’s parking authority, which in turn will operate the 370-space parking deck and bus terminal portion of the project.
LANTA’s cash payment, derived from a federal transportation grant, is a major source of funding for the $26 million intermodal. Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. hopes to couple the LANTA money with grants obtained by the city to cut the amount the city must borrow to no more than $13 million.
Site work for the project started last year after the city demolished a Perkins restaurant and a movie theater on S. Third St. Construction could begin this summer.
Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan announced Thursday the design of several grant-funded projects aimed at sprucing up the “front door” to southeast Bethlehem.
Those projects will include building a gathering space at the popular SkatePlaza, an economic analysis of how to redevelop properties, wayfinding signs and connections from the rails-to-trails park to neighborhoods.
The profiles of the neighborhoods near E. Fourth Street and Daley Avenue are quickly rising as the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem continues to draw visitors and Route 412 expands to accommodate more traffic.
“With changes that have taken place here, the eastern gateway is the new front door of Bethlehem,” Mayor John Callahan said at a news conference at the Forte Building.