ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

The developers behind a controversial shopping center in Lehigh County have $6 million more to work with.

The money comes from the governor's transportation infrastructure investment fund, and will go towards improvements near Route 222 in Lower Macungie Township, where the developers of Hamilton Crossings, a $140 million shopping center which would include the Lehigh Valley's first Costco and Whole Foods.

The announcement came Monday at a meeting of the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study, where a copy of a letter from the state to the developers was part of the record.

"This is something we've been working on for many, many months," said Jeremy Fogel of the Goldenberg Group, the Montgomery County firm developing Hamilton Crossings.

Fogel said the money will be used to make traffic improvements at the development, which is on 63 acres along Krocks Road between Hamilton Boulevard and Route 222.

But developers are still counting on local economic support in the form of a TIF (tax incremental financing), which would require Lower Macungie and the East Penn School District to give up half of the property taxes generated by Hamilton Crossings for 20 years.

That money would be diverted to pay for public infrastructure.

The Lower Macungie commissioners are expected to hold a public hearing on the TIF Thursday night, before voting June 5. The East Penn School Board voted in favor of the TIF last year.

However, the board was expected to vote Monday night to revisit its support of the plan.
Lehigh County Commissioners voted against the TIF earlier this year.