BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Groundbreaking could be just around the corner for an $11 million project that would transform a former Catholic church property in Bethlehem into artists lofts and apartments.
Roger J. Hudak, head of the Mayor's South Side Task Force, said Tuesday he received an email from Ian Rawhauser, a real estate development analyst with the project's non-profit developer, HDC MidAtlantic, indicating the groundbreaking would take place in September or October.
"They're already doing [preparatory] work," Hudak told task force members. "The property is already fenced off. They're trying to keep the metal hunters away."
HDC MidAtlantic plans to build the 46-unit South Side Lofts at two locations -- 28 one- and two-bedroom apartments with 26 parking spaces at the former St. Stanislaus Church at 419-429 Hayes St. and a three-story 18-unit building with two- and three-bedroom apartments and 22 parking spaces on the site of a Quonset hut at 420 Atlantic St.
Plans call for the 106-year-old church sanctuary to be restored and be used as a community and gallery space.
In March, HDC MidAtlantic was awarded $868,343 in federal tax credits through the state Housing Finance Agency's Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. Bethlehem also has pledged $700,000 in federal housing grants toward the project.
In other business, task force members were told that Lehigh University freshmen will be introduced to about a dozen South Side restaurants during a brand-new orientation program called Faux Friday on Aug. 23.
Dale Kochard, university vice president for community and regional affairs, said about 700 students have signed up for the program.
Hudak said Moravian College has a similar program for its students to become familiar with restaurants on Bethlehem's North Side.
Groundbreaking could be just around the corner for an $11 million project that would transform a former Catholic church property in Bethlehem into artists lofts and apartments.
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