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

Advertisements

Allentown’s Seventh Street Is Experiencing A Quiet Rebirth

English: City of Allentown from east side

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

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.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-allentown-seventh-street-evolution-20130316,0,326378,full.story

Center City Allentown Construction To Bring 900 Jobs

English: City of Allentown

English: City of Allentown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-allentown-arena-union-jobs-20130119,0,4563413,full.story

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.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-pa-lehigh-county-growth-20121217,0,492217.story

Allentown Waterfront Development Plans Unveiled For $250M In Construction

English: City of Allentown from east side

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

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.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-waterfront-development-lehigh-river-20121211,0,1830155.story

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