Awards for affordable rental housing total more than $92 million

Awards totaling more than $44.2 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits, more than $20 million in National Housing Trust Funds for the construction of 1,459 affordable multifamily rental units in Pennsylvania, and more than $9 million in PennHOMES funding, were announced by Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday. 

This is the first year the agency is announcing awards for the new Pennsylvania housing tax credit totaling more than $19.3 million in state credits. The federal and state tax credits were approved by the board and administered by the PHFA. 

“The funding we award today will have a significant impact by adding 1,459 affordable rental units once construction is completed,” Wolf said in a statement. “In all communities across the state, affordable housing is in great demand, which is why the allocation of this funding is important for addressing that need.” 

Developments receiving funding will preserve and create an additional 1,518 total rental units, including 1,459 for low-income Pennsylvania residents, with 123 units for people at or below 30 percent of the area median income supported by the National Housing Trust Funds. 

PHFA Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann said tax credits are important as they fill a void in the marketplace for the construction of affordable housing. 

“Even before the pandemic there was clear demand for more rental housing that fits people’s budgets. That demand is even stronger today, and this new round of tax credits, plus the additional funding, are vital for creating and rehabilitating much-needed affordable housing.” 

The 33 multifamily housing developments being awarded for tax credits can be viewed on the PHFA site at https://www.phfa.or/mhp/. Please see the list of tax credit recipients under “News: 2022” and dated 11/10.

Production, promotion of Pa. beers and wines gets nearly $2 million boost from PLCB grants

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has approved grants totaling $1,78 million for 21 projects to increase the production of Pennsylvania-made malt and brewed beverages and wines, Governor Tom Wolf announced. 

The grants are aimed at enhancing Pennsylvania’s beer industry via promotion, marketing, and research-based programs and projects, as well as increasing the production of state-made wines. 

“Since 2017, we have awarded more than $12 million to projects that support Pennsylvania’s growing wine and beer industries as they explore research, improve products and raise awareness,” Wolf said. “This is an investment that helps growers meet increasingly complex challenges, provides higher-quality and better-tasting products, and connects consumers with Pennsylvania wines and craft beverages that are among the finest in the nation.” 

Ranked second in the U.S. for volume of craft beer production, Pennsylvania produced 3.2 million barrels in 2021 for a $5.5 million economic impact. Pennsylvania ranks fifth in the country for wine production and annually welcomes more than two million visitors to state wineries generating tourism revenue of more than $476.5 million. The economic impact of wine in Pennsylvania is more than $1.4 billion. 

Act 39 of 2016 created the Pennsylvania Malt and Brewed Beverages Industry Promotion Board within the department of Agriculture and authorized the PLCB to approve up to $1 million annually for the development and marketing of the Pennsylvania beer industry. The Pennsylvania Fiscal Code also allows for unallocated beer grant funds to be made available in subsequent years. 

Act 39 also expanded the Pennsylvania Wine Marketing and Research Board and authorized the PLCB to approve up to $1 million annually for wine research and promotion. 

The PLCB regulates the distribution of beverage alcohol in Pennsylvania, operates 600 wine and spirit stores statewide, and licenses 20,000 alcohol producers, retailers, and handlers. The PLCB partners with schools, community groups, and licensees to reduce and prevent dangerous and underage drinking. Taxes and store profits totaling nearly $19.5 billion since the agency’s inception are returned to the state’s General Fund to finance Pennsylvania schools, health and human services programs, law enforcement, public safety initiatives, and other key public services. 

The Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, and other state agencies and local municipalities across the state also receive financial support from the PLCB. 

Additional information regarding the PLCB can be found at lcb.pa.gov. 

Evonik cuts ribbon on Trexlertown Innovation Hub

U.S. Congresswoman Susan Wild, D-7; Ralph Marquardt, chief innovation officer of Evonik; Ute Wolf, CFO of Evonik, Pa.Gov. Tom Wolf; and Bonnie Tully president of Evonik North America; cut the ribbon on the new Evonik Innovation Hub in Trexlertown. PHOTO/STACY WESCOE –

German chemical company, Evonik, held a ribbon cutting Thursday at its new state-of-the-art Innovation Hub in Trexlertown. 

Located on property Evonik purchased from Air Products about 6 years ago, the 30,000-square-foot space will be the centerpiece of growth at the two-building site said Tracey Mole, vice president of the Business & Innovation Center. 

“This the first major milestone in our modernization project,” he said. 

The space will be the center of the company’s global research and development efforts and will serve as a collaborative space where researchers, marketing and financing staff can all work together on innovation. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf noted that the state helped fund the development of the center, which he called an important addition to the state and the Lehigh Valley. 

“Evonik’s new, state-of-the-art space will build on Pennsylvania’s strength as a center for advanced manufacturing,” said Wolf. “I’m proud to have invested $2.5 million in this Innovation Hub that will bring new, good-paying jobs to the Allentown region.” 

According to Evonik, the company employs 300 at the Trexlertown facility. The project is helping to retain more than 200 of those employees as well as adding 50 high-paying jobs in advanced manufacturing. 

Ute Wolf, CFO of Evonik said having the center in Trexlertown will help the Lehigh Valley become the center of Evonik’s global growth. 

“Innovation is very important. What we really brings us forward is new ideas and education,” she said. 

To express the importance of innovation to Evonik, Ute Wolf noted that the company spends about $500,000 per year on research and development. 

Jean Vincent, senior vice president of R&D, specialty additives, said the company’s research into high-performing plastics, used in applications from medical implants to football cleats, is the centerpiece of the company’s work at the facility, but the company also researches other things such as additives to insulation used in refrigerators to products that help make paint brighter. 

“We research new chemistry applications of technology right down to the molecular level,” she said. 

The Innovation Hub project was managed by Boyle Construction, and Mole said it won’t be the last new construction the company will have at the site. 

“I would like to see the site continue to grow,” he said, noting the space to add new building was one of the features that attracted Evonik to purchase the property. 

What attracted the company to locate in the Lehigh Valley in the first place, he said, was the region’s education landscape. He said with the large number of universities in the region, Evonik has a sizeable pool of highly educated and skilled talent to recruit from. 

In fact, the company recently donated $100,000 to the Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown to help promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education for young women. 

Like many companies, Mole said Evonik was also drawn to the Lehigh Valley because of its geography. He noted it’s close to other innovation hubs like New York and Boston but has the affordability of living that offers a better quality of life for employees.