Now that the massive $300 million Waterfront development is underway along the Lehigh River and several office buildings are reshaping the look of downtown Allentown, other properties within the business corridor could be next.
At a strategic spot in Allentown sits a vacant property that could see new life as light industrial, restaurant, residential or any number of uses.
The Allentown Economic Development Corp. started accepting requests for proposal for a developer to acquire and renovate the former Klein Bros. Paper and Twine Co. building, which has been vacant since 1970.
The property, at 107-111 W. Hamilton St. and 14-28 N. Front St., is at the east gateway to the downtown off the Hamilton Street Bridge and across from the America on Wheels Museum. The AEDC and the city envision the restoration of the Klein building and the adjacent lot to be a mixed-use project consistent with the Waterfront master plan.
Scott Unger, Allentown Economic Development Corp. executive director, has not received any proposals. They are due Dec. 15.
“What we envision is, I suspect, some type of mixed-use project,” Unger said.
While it is not a requirement that the project be mixed use, the RFP recommends a mixed use and that it be consistent with the Waterfront master plan, Unger said.
The property can include commercial, family entertainment, restaurant, retail, light industrial and office spaces, as well as residential uses to supply the demand for the emerging waterfront area.
“It’s a key corridor coming into the downtown,” Mayor Ed Pawlowski said. “I’m open to any uses that complement the uses down there.
“We want to make sure whatever we put there complements the redevelopment that’s occurring. It’s definitely a key redevelopment parcel.”l