Lehigh Valley

Catasauqua to use Allentown Waterfront developer for Iron Works site

An idea for Catasauqua's old "Iron Works" site is one step closer to being a reality. 

The borough has voted to move forward with a proposal from local developer Dunn Twiggar.

"Iron Works" looks like something from another era, because it is.

F.L. Smidth used to be here, and now it's considered a "brownfield", an old industrial site with potential environmental damage. 

"The borough decided to change their future by buying this and taking a chance," said Christine Weaver, Planning and Zoning Chair of the Catasauqua Council. 

Many residents thought it was a bad idea when the borough used $750,000 to buy the land in 2013. 

"In the past people thought, 'ugh, it's an old Brownfield site, what do you do with it?'…we see it as an opportunity," said Weaver. 

The critics remain, but nevertheless the project moves forward. 

One aspect: a new municipal building.

It houses their fire, police and administration offices.

That was finished in August, and now plans are in the works to sell the remaining land and develop it. 

Monday, the borough voted to move forward with a proposal submitted by Dunn Twiggar. 

Some of the buildings may stay, others may go, but the idea is to make a walkable downtown with more retail and residential space. 

"It's a great start for our revitalization as a borough," Weaver said. 

Dunn Twiggar, which is also involved in Allentown's waterfront development, has experience repurposing sites with potential environmental hazards.

Now, the developer and the borough will try to work out a final deal for Dunn Twiggar to buy the roughly 10.5 acres of land.

The potential sale could be completed in three to six months.

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