Trucking company expands operations with $2.5M investment

Evans Delivery Co., an over-the-road trucking company and broker based in Schuylkill Haven, said it would expand its operations with a $2.5 million investment.

Evans Delivery Co. of Schuylkill Haven said it would embark on an expansion project that would add 65 jobs over the next three years. (Thinkstock) –

The company plans to acquire and renovate a nearby 9,046-square-foot-office building and demolish an existing car wash to create a corporate annex and 70 parking spaces that would complement its headquarters.

Bert Evans, board chair of Evans Delivery, said the company has about 150 employees and would increase that by 65 people over the next three years.

“We like the workforce here, it’s a very loyal workforce,” Evans said.

The company’s headquarters is two blocks away from what would become a new location for more employees.

“We are planning to move our safety department to that location,” Evans said. “This would enable us to put them all in one spot.”

The company will keep the other location open that contains all the functions of the company and serves as its headquarters. The expansion will allow the company the space to grow those departments as well, he added.

The project would consolidate back office jobs currently performed out of state, nearer to the company’s 60,000-square-foot-headquarters. The company will invest at least $2,482,658 in the project.

Evans Delivery received a funding proposal from the state Department of Community & Economic Development for the project. The proposal includes a $250,000 Pennsylvania First grant; $65,000 in job creation tax credits to be distributed once the company adds the new jobs; and a $17,400 workforce development grant to help the company train workers.

The Governor’s Action Team coordinated the project.

Five local organizations also contributed to the revitalization project: the Downtown Merchants, the Island Organization, Penn State Schuylkill, the Heritage River Group, and the Walk In Art Center.

Evans said the company decided to form the Walk In Art Center as a 501c3 organization a few years ago to draw people into Schuylkill Haven to help with the redevelopment of the town. It then became a catalyst to get the other organizations involved in helping out and now, Schuylkill Haven has a vibrant downtown area as opposed to large numbers of vacant and for sale buildings, he added.

“We’ve been very lucky, very fortunate and as a result we want to give back as much as we can,” Evans said.

Evans Delivery Co. is part of The Evans Network of Companies, which includes 34 brands at more than 350 locations, and a fleet of 7,050 trucks.


Retirement community expands in Bethlehem

Senior living continues to be a strong market in the Lehigh Valley, as evidenced by an expansion of an existing 55 and older community in Bethlehem.

Moravian Village is embarking on an expansion of Market Street Cottages, a project under construction by Bracy Construction Inc. of South Whitehall Township.

Moravian Village is embarking on an expansion of Market Street Cottages, a project under construction in Bethlehem by Bracy Construction Inc. (Photo by Brian Pedersen) –

Joe Jackson, project manager for Bracy Construction, said the project should be finished by spring.

Workers are constructing four buildings, with two townhouse units in each. Each building is 6,700 square feet, including the basements, but not including the garages, he said.

The townhouses have two bedrooms and one bathroom in each.

“Most of the people purchasing the units are fitting out the basements as well,” Jackson said.

He said workers spent a lot of time removing unsuitable soils and are now working on the foundations and utilities and will soon start framing the units.

Brad Senick, COO at Bethlehem Area Moravians, part of the Moravian Development Corp., said the community would have 113 cottages upon completion of the project.

“We obviously have the demand for additional units,” Senick said. He described the new units as similar to what already exists, but with some minor revisions.

He declined to disclose the estimated construction cost.

Lenhardt Rodgers Architects and Interiors of Fort Washington is the architect for the project.





New restaurant slated for Bethlehem bar and grill

While Roosevelt’s 21st has been a fixture in Bethlehem for more than a decade, the owners have closed the business and are renovating the property to create a new restaurant that should open later this month.

Workers take down parts of the exterior of Roosevelt’s 21st in Bethlehem to create a new restaurant. (Photo by Brian Pedersen) –

Michael Relvas, co-owner, said they are changing the name and entire concept of Roosevelt’s. It will become 21 Craft House and Kitchen, with an entirely new interior and exterior look.

“It was ready for an update,” Relvas said. “We wanted to try to get away from the stigma that we are just a college bar. I can also understand how people can think that because we are across from Moravian College’s field.”

While he does not want to push out the college crowd, he would also like to expand his audience and attract new customers. He wants to create a more inviting place, which is why they changed the name.

Art Kassis is the co-owner.

Workers will add two large accordion doors that will open to the outside and inside, they removed the D.J. booth.

On Thursday, workers were in the demolition phase, working on the interior, which will have a more industrial look, with new tile and furniture.

Alfero Co. of Easton is the firm working on the project.

Relvas said he also hired a new chef, William Romero, who most recently worked at Wind Creek Bethlehem. Travis Schuch will be the new general manager.

The new restaurant will employ about 30 people.

Relvas said the new restaurant would offer more gastropub type food with an eclectic twist, different variations on traditional favorites. He plans to update the menu each season.

The address is 21 E. Elizabeth Ave. in Bethlehem.


Keystone-Harley Davidson buys land in Whitehall for new dealership

By next fall, Whitehall Township will have a new Keystone Harley-Davidson dealership near the busy intersection of MacArthur and Eberhardt roads.

Keystone-Harley Davidson plans to open a new dealership off MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township in fall 2020. (Submitted) –

Bob Eggstein, owner of Keystone Harley-Davidson, said he would move his dealership, which has about 25 employees in Parryville, Carbon County, to the Whitehall location when it opens in fall 2020.

Feinberg Real Estate Advisors LLC of South Whitehall Township, said it represented Keystone Harley-Davidson, from contact to closing, in the purchase of about three acres at 2800 Eberhardt Road for the 25,000-square-foot dealership.

Cindy McDonnell Feinberg said she represented Keystone Harley-Davidson for real estate brokerage services and Gregg Feinberg of Feinberg Law Office provided legal services for the purchase, township approvals, financing, title insurance and closing of the property.

The land sold for slightly more than $1 million.

Steve Cihylik of Hanna Frederick Commercial in South Whitehall Township represented the seller, Gilboy Ford-Mercury, Inc.

“It has been a long process to get all this done,” Eggstein said. “There has not been a Harley-Davidson dealership in the Lehigh Valley for more than 10 years.”

Harley-Davidson had a dealership slightly outside the valley in Coopersburg that closed in 2011. A long time ago, it had a dealership near Planet Trog, a laser tag center off MacArthur Road in Whitehall, he said.

Harley-Davidson Motor Co. was interested in having a dealership in the region again, he said.

Eggstein said many of his employees at the Parryville location live between the Lehigh Valley and Parryville, so most if not all would be coming with the company to Whitehall.

“It’s not only a big market for our current customers, it’s going to give us access to a deeper demographic down there,” Eggstein said.

Keystone Harley-Davidson will introduce an electric motorcycle next week and eventually start offering other products such as “street fighter” bikes, adventure touring bikes for varied terrain and electric bikes for kids, he added.

The new dealership will also offer charging stations for bikes and vehicles.

“It also opens up a market for our service markets,” Eggstein said.

Typically, the Parryville site gets busier on weekends because that’s when many customers come in for service. However, the Whitehall location offers opportunities for people to stop in more frequently during the week.

“It goes from a destination dealership to an ‘on the way’ dealership,” Eggstein said.

The Feinbergs were instrumental in navigating the complexities of this type of development project, he added.

“It was a great project, it certainly had a lot of complexities to it,” said Cindy McDonnell Feinberg. “We were in search of a location that would offer convenience for Harley clients and be a great central Lehigh Valley location.”

The search for the property began in 2014.

Though Eggstein declined to disclose the estimated construction cost, he plans to have site work start in November and complete the construction in fall 2020.

The company hired Boyle Construction of South Whitehall Township as the construction firm and MKSD architects of South Whitehall Township as the architect.

Construction to begin next month on $15M Easton mixed-use development

Approved by city officials in August, The Commodore project in downtown Easton should see the start of construction next month.

The Commodore, an eight-story mixed-use project that will go up at the gateway to downtown Easton. (Submitted) –

The eight-story project will include 1,700 square feet of retail space; 15,000 square feet of Class-A office space, a 6,200-square-foot rooftop restaurant and 32 residential units, with an estimated construction cost of $10 million to $15 million.

The project site is at the corner of Northampton Street and Larry Holmes Drive and serves as a main gateway to the city from the free bridge that connects to Phillipsburg, New Jersey.

The developer, Garett Vassel of Optima Durant Group in New York City, selected Jerdon Construction Services LLC of Upper Macungie Township as the construction firm for the project. Vassel said he signed a couple of letters of intent for a co-working company that would occupy some of the office space and a coffee shop that would occupy some of the retail space. Aside from those potential tenants, Vassel is still analyzing the space for the restaurant.

The architects are finalizing the designs and workers should start with demolition and then construction in November, said Ron Jerdon, president. The project should take about 12 months to complete, with a potential completion in November/December, he added.

The developer plans to preserve the historic character of the original 1880’s structure. Over the years, the building served as a chocolate factory, furniture store, liquor store, clothing store and most recently, Kaplan’s, an awning supplier. Workers will maintain the historic brick façade of the building with the 1946 addition, requiring demolition to make way for the additional space, according to Jerdon.

Artefact Architecture of Bethlehem and Beers Engineering of Lehighton are two other local firms working on the project.

On Oct. 30 at 5:30 p.m., Vassel will share details about the project at the site at 100 Northampton St. At the “Inside Look” event, he will offer attendees a look at the plan for the mixed-use building.

For more information email [email protected].

New York City firm reveals renovation plans for Allentown Plaza building

Somera Road Inc. of New York City released its interior renovation plans for Allentown’s Grand Plaza, a Class-A office building it bought in April that had been in foreclosure.

Built in 2002, the building, formerly known as PPL Plaza, is in the Neighborhood Improvement Zone, a tax incentive that spurred more than $1 billion in construction and renovation in downtown Allentown.

Somera Road hired an architect to redesign the interior of Allentown’s Grand Plaza. Here is a view from the eighth floor. (Submitted) –

The company plans to update the interior design first and then rejuvenate the outdoor plaza space in front of the building next year.

“We are in full design mode, finalizing the architectural design,” said Basel Bataineh, vice president of Somera Road. “We haven’t selected a local contractor yet. We are looking forward to working with someone with experience working in the NIZ.”

Somera Road hired ESa, an architectural firm from Nashville, Tennessee, to do the interior renovations. He declined to disclose an estimated cost for the renovations.

Bataineh said the vast majority of the original design is timeless, with some modern features that some designers are putting into buildings today.

“We are really looking to breathe some new life into the building without changing the character,” Bataineh said.

The firm will make some changes to the lobby, upgrade existing office spaces and renovate the 22,000-square-foot-outdoor plaza space fronting Hamilton Street.

Bataineh said the firm wants to activate the space by adding green space, seating, and areas for events and food and beverage options in addition to live music and fitness programs for the downtown community.

“I do think it’s underutilized outside of more marquee events,” Bataineh said.

Having the outdoor space available is a rare amenity for an office building of this type, he added.

He expects to have the interior renovations complete by the first quarter of 2020 and the exterior finishes later.

Overall, Bataineh sees potential for the building to play a role in the ongoing revitalization of downtown Allentown.

“I think the building speaks for itself,” Bataineh said. “It’s in a downtown that has been absolutely transformed since the building was built.”

Downtown Allentown’s revitalization has been similar to the revitalizations of downtowns he has seen across the country, he added.

The building has four tenants – PPL, BB&T, Gold Credit Union, and Bon Appetite café, with more than 200,000 square feet of available space.

JLL is representing Somera Road in leasing the space.




Cannabis operator opens second dispensary in Reading

Harvest Health & Recreation, a Tempe, Arizona-based cannabis company, announced the opening of Harvest of Reading, its second Reading dispensary and the second Harvest-affiliated dispensary in Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania has quickly become an important state for our long-term plans,” said Harvest CEO Steve White, in a statement.

Harvest Health & Recreation, a cannabis company, opened a second dispensary in Reading. (Submitted) –

Harvest of Reading is at 201 Lancaster Ave., and is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Its other Reading location is on North Fifth Street.

Headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, Harvest Health is a multi-state cannabis operator.

“Harvest is committed to improving patient access in all markets, including those traditionally underserved,” said Alex Howe, spokesperson for Harvest Health & Recreation, in a statement. “The Lancaster [Ave.] store is a high-traffic location that we feel will serve the market well.”

Harvest has 12 employees ready to answer any questions patients have, including two licensed Pennsylvania pharmacists, Howe said.

Harvest will aim to improve lives through cannabis, provide medicated products to consumers and education around their use.

In Pennsylvania, Harvest plans to open additional stores in Johnstown, Scranton and Harrisburg, Howe said.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed the medical marijuana program into law in April 2016. As of Sept. 23, the state office reported that in Pennsylvania, there are more than 202,500 patients registered, more than 176,500 patient certifications issued; more than 133,500 active certifications; more than 1,200 approved practitioners; more than 5,300,000 products sold; and more than $410 million in total sales.

Construction begins on $68M health care campus for LVHN

With all township approvals in place, Lehigh Valley Health Network is starting construction on its new health care campus off Route 33 in Lower Nazareth Township.

Construction is underway on a new campus for Lehigh Valley Health Network that would include a new cancer institute, medical office building and hospital off Route 33 in Lower Nazareth Township. (Submitted) –

The site along Hecktown Road will include a hospital, cancer institute and medical office building.

The campus has three planned buildings, which are a two-story 106,000-square-foot-hospital with 18 beds; a two-story 35,000-square-foot- cancer institute; and a large, two-story medical office building at 61,000 square-feet, said Rachel Lefebvre, vice president of operations at LVHN.

The project’s estimated construction costs are $68 million.

Lefebvre, who will oversee the campus once it’s built, said the network is building all of the buildings and services with the capability for expansion.

Workers have already begun soil movement and preparing for ground improvements, with traditional foundation work to begin in mid-November, she said.

The whole campus, including all three buildings, should be open and operational in summer 2021, she said.

“The expansion of these health services is in response to growing patient demand for services in Northampton County,” Lefebvre said. “We have two large health centers that are very close to the campus.”

Over the last seven years, LVHN has seen a 91 percent increase in the number of visits to Lehigh Valley Physician Group providers, she said. In fiscal year 2018, LVPG had more than 430,000 visits from Northampton County residents.

Rather than having more patients travel across town for care to go to a different LVHN center, the network wanted to put a campus closer to their homes, she added.

“We are providing local, accessible care,” Lefebvre said. “We are really focusing on convenience and access.”

The network plans to reveal a name for the 80-acre campus at its groundbreaking ceremony, set for November, she added.
Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. of Upper Macungie Township is the design-build firm working on the project, along with the architect, Erdman, based in Wisconsin.

James Pennington, chairman of the Lower Nazareth board of supervisors, said township officials are looking to collaborate with LVHN.

“I think from our perspective, it’s a welcome partner and use of the business in the township,” Pennington said. “We are looking forward to working with them over the years. This is a long, long term project for them.”

The township is installing a new community park off Newburg Road with about 90 acres of open space, walking trails and exercise stations, and potentially, the hospital network could partner with the township for this project, Pennington said.

Asphalt plant owner files for bankruptcy

Last fall, a paving contractor began building an asphalt plant in Lopatcong Township, New Jersey.

In 2018, Intercounty Paving Associates LLC began building an asphalt plant in Lopatcong Township. However, the family of companies that owns the plant recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (File Photo by Brian Pedersen) –

Though the project faced legal battles, significant community opposition and approval delays, Intercounty Paving Associates LLC ultimately got township approval in 2012 to build the plant at 189 Strykers Road in Warren County.

However, according to court records, the Hackettstown, New Jersey-based firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Court records list Lizza Equipment Leasing LLC as the owner of the plant, and at the same address as Intercounty Paving, 859 Willow Grove St. in Hackettstown. Lizza plans to sell the plant at a hearing set for 10 a.m. tomorrow in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Trenton, New Jersey.

Dan Stolz, a bankruptcy lawyer from the firm Wasserman, Jurista & Stolz of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, confirmed that the preliminary hearing would be Sept. 24. Stolz’s firm is representing Lizza in the case.

If the court authorizes the sale, it will schedule a date to accept bids for the plant, Stolz said.

Though the plant requires some additional work to become operational, all the equipment is there, Stolz said.

Court documents show the proposed sale would include the land and the asphalt plant for a total of $8 million.

Carl Lizza, president of Intercounty Paving did not return requests for comment.

“This is a result of overall financial stress, particularly because the family of companies that owns the plant expanded too quickly,” Stolz said, in response to the bankruptcy filing. “They didn’t have the cash available to finance the plant.”

According to its website, Intercounty Paving has an office in Westbury, N.Y., and is a large, full-service construction company that employs more than 300 people annually. Its customers include Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, New Jersey Department of Transportation, and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
Once it opened, the asphalt plant would have produced and recycled asphalt and brought 200 trucks a day through the township up Route 519 from Strykers Road to Route 22 where they have access to Interstate 78.
The site is next to Precast Manufacturing Co., a pre-cast concrete product supplier, and near several other businesses.


Firm completes renovation project for insurance agency

SAGE Design-Build Inc. of Upper Macungie Township completed a construction and renovation project for the Patrick McNealis Insurance and Financial Group’s new Emmaus office.

Patrick McNealis, which has offices in Bethlehem and Nazareth, recently added an Emmaus office.

Joe Landrigan, president of SAGE, said his firm renovated the second floor of a two-story building on Harrison Street in Emmaus for use as a new office for Patrick McNealis, owner of the building.

SAGE Design-Build completed a construction and renovation project for the Patrick McNealis Insurance and Financial Group’s new Emmaus office. (Submitted) –

The company, which has 26 employees, needed more space for its expanding business, said McNealis.

The company closed its Tilghman Street office, he added.

“I was looking for more space, space that had parking, and I looked for a year,” McNealis said.

McNealis decided to buy the Emmaus location and said he likes the more suburban setting.

“We have a lot of workstations, we have a good flow for our customers,” McNealis said.

The new office has more dedicated space for staff to meet with clients and also has a large conference room.

“We like the look of the building and having some space around us,” he said.

Landrigan said his firm completely gutted the second floor, which was about 2,500 square feet. The project took about two months to complete and included adding higher ceilings, LED lights and larger windows.

“The one physical change here is he really wanted to get ceiling heights as high as possible,” Landrigan said. “We were able to raise the ceilings throughout for him to give a really nice, open look. He ended up changing the windows to more standard office-size windows so that was a nice improvement for him.”

SAGE was responsible for both the design and construction of the project.

McNealis also has two other tenants remaining in the building on the first floor.


Work begins on $90M 55+ community

A Berwyn-based developer of active senior communities began site work on its newest development, Traditions of America at Green Pond.

Site work has begun on the site near Green Pond Country Club in Bethlehem Township that will have 229 homes, said Jay Goldberg, vice president of sales and marketing for Traditions of America.

The community will be a mix of 171 single-family detached homes and 58 attached, he said.

The site plan for Traditions of America at Green Pond, an active senior community that recently started construction in Bethlehem Township. (Submitted) –

So far, Traditions of America sold 35 units, he added.

The estimated total construction cost is between $80 million and $90 million and the project should be completely finished in four to five years, depending on sales and construction.

Before securing township approvals, the plan encountered challenges, mainly stemming from the presence of wetlands on the site.

“There’s a conservation area on the site and there’s quite an involved plan to preserve and maintain the area which has been an area that migratory birds are attracted to and that will continue,” Goldberg said.

Traditions of America will keep the area as close to its natural state as possible, he said, adding that the development would not affect that area.

“We hired a company called Princeton Hydraulics that designed the plan for that in conjunction with the township,” Goldberg said.

The development will have similar features to other Traditions of America gated communities, including a clubhouse, fitness center and outdoor pool, he said.

With its proximity to Green Pond Country Club, the site has attracted interest from golfers, he added.

“We choose our locations where there’s ample entertainment, shopping, retail, health care and also where there’s demand for such projects,” Goldberg said.

The demand is coming not only from people in the local area but also those interested in migrating from New Jersey, he said.

Traditions of America has built 22 communities for those 55 and older across Pennsylvania and delivered 3,700 homes, Goldberg said. It also recently expanded into other states and will have two new locations in Ohio and Virginia, Goldberg added.

Debby Skeans, managing director and senior advisor for SVN Imperial Realty of South Whitehall Township, was the exclusive agent in the $5.4 million sale of the excess land at Green Pond Country Club, according to a news release.





Beverage manufacturer to invest $200M in new Lehigh Valley site

Keurig Dr. Pepper said it would invest about $200 million to develop a production and warehouse site in Upper Macungie Township that would employ nearly 400, according to a news release.

The project is at Park 100 Logistics Center, a two-building industrial site under construction near Route 100 in Upper Macungie that once served as a Kraft-Heinz plant.

Keurig Dr. Pepper will move into Park 100, a two-building logistics site in Upper Macungie Township. This file photo shows the first building, completed in April. (Submitted) –

The site occupies 92 acres on Industrial Boulevard.

Combined, the two buildings will create a 1,541,280 square foot manufacturing, warehouse and distribution facility. The company said it plans to create at least 378 full-time jobs over the next three years and invest at least $219.7 million in the project. The costs include leasehold improvements, building infrastructure, equipment acquisition, computer equipment, training and furniture.

Katie Gilroy, director of communications for Keurig Dr. Pepper, confirmed the company leased a parcel of land near Allentown, where it plans to adapt an existing warehouse and build a new manufacturing facility. The warehouse is at 7350 Industrial Blvd. and the manufacturing site will be at 7356 Industrial Blvd.

Those two buildings will be connected by a tramway that will deliver pallets from the manufacturing facility to the warehouse, she said in a statement. Warehouse operations are expected to begin by the end of this year. The company will provide an update on manufacturing at a later date, she said.

The company received some state funds to help with the investment, including a proposal from the Department of Community & Economic Development for a $1.5 million Pennsylvania First grant, $170,100 for worker training and $1.134 million in tax credits the company receives after it adds the new jobs.

Keurig Dr. Pepper said the facility would help the company optimize its logistics footprint in the Northeast by providing large-scale warehouse operations. The company has annual revenue in excess of $11 billion and dual headquarters in Burlington, Massachusetts and Plano, Texas. The company formed with the 2018 merger of Keurig Green Mountain and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.

The Governor’s Action Team coordinated the Upper Macungie project.
QEI Construction Group of Harrisburg is the builder. Ridgeline Property Group of Atlanta, Ga., is the owner.

“We have a backlog of prospects that want to be in the market,” said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp., an organization that helps companies find sites and works with government groups to lure companies to the valley. “The growth of manufacturing and food and beverage that this is a part of, we’ve been working hard on for years. We have a steady stream of natural producers that want to be in the market.”

Cunningham said he has been involved with this project since the beginning of the year.