Lehigh Valley

Easton to break ground on intermodal facility in '13

Groundwork continues for Easton intermodal

EASTON, Pa. - Demolition is almost complete to make room for a new transportation center in Easton.

Residents at Wednesday's city council meeting got an update on the facility and a first look at a timeline for groundbreaking and grand opening.

Easton Mayor Sal Panto says the intermodal facility will be a major attraction for the area.

Groundbreaking is less than a year and a half away, but the city wants to do the project right.

The former Perkins restaurant and old Marquis Theater on South Third Street are nothing more than piles of rubble.

Crews have been working hard for weeks to clear the lots and make way for the intermodal facility.

"The project is on schedule, we're moving forward," said Easton Mayor Sal Panto. "We're gonna go to construction design this year and start construction next year," he said.

Wednesday night we learned groundbreaking is set for June of 2013 with the grand opening a year later.

But city officials say they won't move forward if it means taxpayers will lose money.

"Our goal is to have the 45,000- square-foot building owned and operated by a private individual and the city would operate the garage," said Mayor Panto.

With the project now estimated to cost $25 million, Mayor Panto says if they can't get a developer for the building, the city will just build the parking garage.

"We won't do anything unless its revenue neutral," he said.

He calls the project a major attraction for the area, saying it will have a huge impact on the southern part of downtown.

"It is the entrance to your city from 78 and it's an area that needs a little bit of an impetus to start moving development that way and I think this is gonna do it," explained Mayor Panto.

The facility will include a bus station, retail space, a restaurant and a high school sports hall of fame that will cover the 15,000-square-foot second floor.

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