$12.7M demolition of Allentown State Hospital begins

Stacy Wescoe//May 14, 2020

$12.7M demolition of Allentown State Hospital begins

Stacy Wescoe//May 14, 2020

Starting immediately, a Gilbertsville demolition firm will begin taking down the buildings and structures of the Allentown State Hospital property. (PHOTO/FILE) –


Demolition work is beginning at the former Allentown State Hospital on Hanover Avenue in East Allentown.

Troy Thompson, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, which oversees the property, said the initial job conference was held Wednesday. That’s the official first step of the project and work can now begin.

Thompson said the initial work will be securing the site and prep work to the interiors and exteriors of the 44 structures on the more than 200-acre property.

“The campus has a lot of older building and asbestos is an issue,” he said.

He noted that passers-by won’t be noticing a lot of changes initially.

“You won’t see a building coming down anytime soon, even though the work is beginning immediately,” Thompson said.

The entire demolition project, which is being managed by Neuber Environmental Services Inc. of Gilbertsville, is expected to take around 540 days, which sets an estimated completion date of November 2021.

The demolition will cost about $12.7 million.

The demolition of the historic buildings on the property does not come without controversy. There were numerous protests and petitions and even a lawsuit seeking to save the buildings, some of which were recently featured in M. Night Shyamalan’s 2019 film, “Glass.”

The buildings had stood vacant since closing in 2010 and the state was not able to find a buyer for the property.

The state decided the property would be easier to sell if the aging properties on it were demolished and the property was sold as green space.

After the buildings are demolished the state Department of General Services would begin the bidding process for developers who seek to purchase the property.

A committee was established by the state to oversee the bidding process so that the proposals are chosen for the impact they will have on the community as well as the dollar amount of the bid.

Local developers and elected officials have suggested uses ranging from light industrial to apartments.