Lehigh Valley

Mid-day public hearing set on city Waterfront project

Developers are seeking tentative approval

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A public hearing has been scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Tuesday on a tentative plan for The Waterfront development along the Lehigh River in Allentown.

The Allentown Planning Commission will hold the hearing in City Council chambers on the first floor of City Hall. Public testimony will be taken on the project.

It is being held before the commission's 12:15 p.m. Tuesday meeting, where the project may get tentative plan approval.

The Waterfront involves redevelopment of the former Lehigh Structural Steel site beneath the Tilghman Street Bridge.

The $275-million project will create a new commercial and residential neighborhood that  will include 10 new buildings, plus two multi-level parking garages, on nearly 27 acres. It will include offices, shops, restaurants, apartments, public gathering places and a walkway through open space along the river.

Developers went before the planning commission on May 14 to initiate approval of their tentative plans.

At that meeting, they learned they must explain how they will improve several nearby intersections already so overloaded with traffic that they are ranked as failing.

The project was on the agenda of the commission's June 11 meeting for tentative plan approval, but continued.

On Jan. 8, the planning commission approved a Waterfront master plan, which is comparable to an initial sketch plan. The more detailed tentative plan is comparable to a preliminary plan. The developers also will need final plan approval from the commission.

They plan to complete The Waterfront in phases. The first phase will be built south of Tilghman Street Bridge: three office buildings along the river and one residential structure and a parking garage behind them.

They hope to start construction of phase one by March 2014, with initial occupancy expected during 2015. But completion of the full project will take five to 10 years.

Developers of The Waterfront are Dunn Twiggar Company, LLC; Michael Dunn Co., Ltd., and Jaindl Properties LLC. They have formed a partnership called Waterfront Redevelopment Partners LP.

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