Revitalization of 5th Street Highway moving forward

Lidl supermarket, Popeyes restaurant planned

MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. - It's been a nearly three-year study that focused on the Fifth Street Highway in Muhlenberg Township. Jamal Abodalo, the township's manager and engineer, is now starting to see the fruits of that study start to sprout.

"This study is a comprehensive study of how we can look at the corridor, all the way from the motel areas close to downtown Reading and all the way to Walmart," Abodalo explained.

Revitalization plans include Pennsylvania's first Lidl supermarket. The chain of stores, which was founded in Germany in 1973 and opened its first U.S. location this year, is known for its organic options. That'll go at the site of the old Manderbach Ford dealership.

Also in the works, and a first for Berks County, is a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on the site of the old Eric Theater, which was recently demolished.

The township knows exactly what it wants the area to mirror.

"The Fifth Street corridor, probably in a vast plan five years out, will be like the 202 corridor in Montgomery County," Abodalo envisioned.

It's exciting news for local shoppers, like Laureldale resident Joel Rosa, who was on his lunch break. He's always in search of new places to grab a bite.

"It's good for the city. It's good for the area, because you have more choices to eat," Rosa said.  

Though, as more and more customers shop online, the township is looking to embrace more unique brick-and-mortar business opportunities.

"That is the trend that we are seeing, and we are aware of the economic trend that's going on nationwide and we are trying to copy some of that and benefit from those movements that we are seeing," Abodalo said.

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