Lehigh Valley

Hamilton Crossings shopping center step closer to reality

LOWER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. - The proposed Hamilton Crossings shopping center in Lower Macungie Township, Lehigh County, is one step closer to happening after receiving support from township leaders.

There's been a lot of talk about Costco, Target, and Whole Foods, but officials said there will be a whole lot more.

"We're very happy to be taking this first step towards getting the project completed," said Sara Pandl, Lower Macungie Township's director of planning and community development.

At their meeting Thursday, the township commissioners approved land development plans for the project and voted to participate in a tax increment financing plan, or TIF.

Residents of the area an expect more than just Costco, Target and Whole Foods.

"We've heard Dick's Sporting Goods is coming," said Pandl. "Nordstrom Rack, which is something we don't have in the Lehigh Valley at all, so that's kind of exciting. We don't know who the restaurants are. That'll come a little later, but there are several restaurant pads with outdoor seating areas."

She said there is a spot for a bank, and there will be four public gathering areas.

"It'll be a lot of plazas. The largest one has a stage and there will be like cafe seating with umbrellas," said Pandl.

All of this will undoubtedly mean more traffic, but township engineer Bill Erdman said there are plans in place.

"In addition to the many improvements they're doing as requirements of PennDOT, they are also going to be installing what's called traffic adaptive traffic signal equipment on Hamilton Boulevard. It's the latest technology of traffic signal equipment that is very real time responsive and the expectation is it's going to significantly improve traffic movements," said Erdman.

"What I'd like the residents to know is there's been a huge collaborative effort among the agencies such as PennDOT and the township and particularly the developer who has been extremely cooperative every step of the way to do what needs to be done to address and mitigate the impacts of this development," he said.

But if you don't want to drive, you won't have to.

"There's two and a half miles of walkways, bikeways and trails that will connect all the stores, so you should be able to walk anywhere within it and then also from the community into the shops," Pandl said.

While the township support was a big hurdle for the developers, they still have a lot to do, including getting approvals and permits from agencies like PennDOT and DEP.

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