Phantoms not coming to Allentown until '14
Put away the foam fingers and face paint for now.
Hockey fans are going to have to wait until 2014 to catch a Phantoms game in Allentown.
The city confirmed Thursday that the arena project won't be finished by next year as originally scheduled.
Season ticket holders got the word in an email blast.
The email says the project took an important step forward with the issuing of bond documents last week but delays caused by lawsuits over the Neighborhood Improvement Zone made it impossible to have a full season in 2013.
Hockey fans and some local businesses say they are disappointed but understand.
"I think it will be a definite boom to the city of Allentown so 2013 would be much better than 2014," said Josh Tucker, owner of JT's Wicker across the street from the arena.
He says construction needs to wrap up as soon as possible because no one wants to come down to Hamilton Street while it's going on.
City Center Lehigh Valley COO Jim Harbaugh says the delay won't impact the company's plans to develop several office buildings and a luxury hotel around the arena project.
"We are going to have our first major building outside of the arena block will be delivered now at just about the same time that the arena opens so rather than being a negative it might actually be a positive for us," said Harbaugh.
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski says he agrees with the team's decision to delay the season.
"I watch the activity on the site on a daily basis and I anxiously await the night when we can drop the first puck,” Pawlowski said.
Meantime, the Phantoms organization says all reserved seats will remain intact and it will be offering a 15 month interest free payment plan on tickets.
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