Allentown celebrates start of Hamilton Streetscape Improvement Project

Allentown Mayor Matt Turek smashes an old city bench to mark the start of a new streetscape project. PHOTO/SUBMITED

The City of Allentown on Tuesday celebrated the start of the Hamilton Streetscape Improvement Project that is currently underway downtown.  

In lieu of a traditional groundbreaking ceremony, Mayor Matt Tuerk held a “bench bashing” event, where he took a sledgehammer to an old concrete bench that will be replaced as part of this project. 

The Streetscape Project began construction April 4 and will continue through late October of 2022.  

It will bring new sidewalks, curbing, lighting, trees, gathering areas, trash and recycling receptacles, bike racks, parking kiosks, pedestrian crosswalks, and benches.  

The project is funded by the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority (ANIZDA) Public Improvement Investment program and is in alignment with the City’s Vision 2030 Plan. 

“This project is an example of effective public-private partnership,” said Tuerk. “We thank ANIZDA for their generous support as well as City Center Allentown, who’s our project sponsor. Once completed, these renovations will welcome people to Hamilton Street, the Lehigh Valley’s primary commercial corridor. Consistent with the Vision 2030 plan, this project will result in a more beautiful streetscape look, improved accessibility for all residents, and increased pedestrian and traffic safety.”  

ANIZDA chair Sy Traub also commented. 

“ANIZDA’s Public Improvement Investment Program is intended to leverage other ANIZDA investments, attract more investment to the Neighborhood Improvement Zone, improve physical connectivity, and beautify streetscapes,” said Traub. “As funder of this project, ANIZDA is pleased to work with the City of Allentown and the project sponsor to achieve these goals.” 

 The nearly $2 million phase one project cost is for work in the 500 and 600 blocks. It is a portion of the overall $10.7 million approved by the ANIZDA board to enhance the Hamilton Streetscape up to the 900, 1000, and 1100 blocks, areas of W. Linden, N. Sixth, and N. Seventh Streets, as well as DaVinci Science Center public improvements in later phases.  

The work will proceed in phases with each section of the construction taking about 2-3 weeks for completion and will require limited lane closures, some street level parking restrictions, and sidewalk disruptions.  

However, the city said businesses will remain open and accessible during construction. 

City Center unveiling two new buildings in Allentown

On the heels of announcing plans for the Linden Street Commons project, City Center Investment Corp. will have two more buildings before the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Authority board Wednesday night.

ANIZDA oversees and manages the development and revitalization of downtown Allentown.

The company unveiled photos and some details of the plans at a subcommittee meeting Monday night.

City Center is developing projects at 932 and 950 Hamilton Street in the city, which will have a mix of apartments, retail and office space.

The building at 932 Hamilton will be a six-story, 99,000-square-foot building with red brick and bronze accents. It will be a mixed use commercial project featuring  open concept office space.

The structure at 950 will be five stories. It is designed with red brick and a mix of vertical and horizontal siding. It will house luxury apartments and retail.

Other projects under development by the company include a project at Ninth and Hamilton Streets called Cityplace, which will include more affordable apartment units.

Most of the apartments City Center has developed in the downtown to date have been more high-end, luxury apartments.