Lehigh Valley

Lehigh Valley #4 story of 2013: Arena construction

Lehigh Valley #4 story of 2013: Arena construction

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Construction of the PPL Center hockey arena in Allentown started nearly two years ago.

The construction of the Phantoms' hockey arena and the surrounding area was voted as one of 2013's top 10 stories by 69 News viewers.

2013 began with a title sponsor for the arena and complex called PPL Center.

"With our hometown here in Allentown, it made perfect sense for PPL to be involved with this partnership with the Phantoms," said Bill Spence, PPL president and CEO.

PPL would be the final big piece to the puzzle, and in March, beams started to sprout out of the ground. The first belonged to the National Penn Bank headquarters, located next to the arena.

Many people drove by the site daily to watch construction, while others had a bird's eye view from one of the surrounding buildings. Slowly, the project started to take shape..

In April, the media got a tour of the progress 24 feet below the streets of Allentown.

In May, project developer J.B. Reilly announced the restoration of the Federal Grill block on Hamilton.   

All the while, the beams kept rising on the arena, hotel and City Center buildings.

By July, the project was 25 percent complete. In October, several stories were framed out and well underway.

WFMZ signed on as a founding partner in November and announced it would open a glass-front broadcast studio near the ground floor.

And in December, crews lowered the final truss into place on the 8th Street end of the PPL Center.

Developers expect the project to be complete by fall 2014.

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