Developer drops plans to build geriatric hospital in Allentown

Abe Atiyeh says he will take his plans to another municipality

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Published: Jul 18 2012 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 19 2012 06:28:44 PM EDT

Developer Abe Atiyeh is pulling the plug on a plan to build a geriatric hospital in Allentown.

Atiyeh had proposed building the 400-bed hospital in the former Western Electric Building, next to Coca-Cola Park, but last month, the Allentown Planning Commission shot down the plans because it said the building isn't zoned to be a hospital.

Atiyeh said he thinks the city opposes the hospital because of a lawsuit he filed over the Neighborhood Improvement Zone, which is helping to fund the hockey arena in downtown Allentown.

“My administration has worked with dozens of developers on projects that are good for the city," said Mayor Ed Pawlowski, D-Allentown. "The city zoning ordinance does not permit Mr. Atiyeh’s proposal at that location. It is the unanimous recommendation of the planning commission not to amend the zoning ordinance to accommodate the project. There is nothing personal about this for me.”

Atiyeh said he will take the hospital to another municipality.