Lehigh Valley

Allentown ZHB OKs building demolition for 7 parking spots

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Allentown's Zoning Hearing Board voted unanimously Monday night to grant a special use appeal to City Center Investment to demolish a building as part of their Strata II project.

The decision will permit the Allentown Parking Authority to demolish the building, located at 724 Turner St., to allow additional parking. The building is located in the city's Central Business District.

Bryan Adams, a principal of Alliance Architecture in Nazareth, testified on behalf of City Center that he had inspected the exterior of the building and acknowledged the building did have some "unique" and even "interesting" features. However, it was his professional opinion the building was not historically significant and contained nothing that was "one of a kind."

George Grazer, the city's interim executive director and manager of the Allentown Parking Authority, testified that if the building was demolished it would yield an additional seven parking spots.

The 2,078 square foot, three bedroom, two bathroom home is currently vacant, The front porch was described as "dilapidated," and the building itself has been somewhat of a magnet for vandals, according to testimony Monday night.

In rendering their decisions, zoner Scott Unger said that the building's demise was a "small exchange" for a clear economic benefit to the city. He reasoned that currently the building is vacant and with the building demolition, Allentown's tax revenue from the parcel would increase by about five times.

Zoner Alan Salinger said he was surprised City Center didn’t try to persuade the board with the fact that the property would be "unfeasible to rehabilitate," adding "That's really the prime reason" to approve the special use appeal.

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