Lehigh Valley

Allentown zoners OK Croc Rock demolition

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Allentown Zoning Hearing Board on Monday night approved an appeal by City Center Investment Corp. to receive a special exception waiver to demolish the former Crocodile Rock.

The vote was 3-0.
 
The developer plans to destroy the building at 520 Hamilton St. as part of a plan to erect a six-story building on the site, with the ground floor featuring retail and the remaining five floors featuring residential units. Demolition on the project is expected to begin in August, according to testimony provided by Jane Heft, vice president and director of project design with City Center; construction is set to begin in November and is anticipated to be completed in late August 2018.

Heft said the City Center project would enhance the city's tax base, adding that currently the property is attracting just over $22,000 in property taxes. She said the City Center project would increase that amount by "six to eight times."

The building is located in the city's Central Business (B-2), Historic Building Demolition Overlay, Hamilton Street Overlay and Traditional Neighborhood Development Overlay District.

In approving the measure, zoners said the applicant met several of the requirements to receive the special exception waiver.

ZHB member Alan Salinger said the City Center project would provide a "re-entry of middle-class people into downtown" and would be of a substantial public benefit.

Prior to the recent influx of concert venues throughout the Lehigh Valley, Crocodile Rock had been a destination for mid-level and breaking musical acts for several years. The location has been vacant since the club closed in 2015. The building was constructed in 1932 and previously housed the Eastern Light furniture and appliance store.​

WFMZ's Jaccii Farris will have more on the project at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

 


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