The development of Four City Center in Allentown gained its preliminary final plan approval from the Allentown City Planning Commission on Tuesday afternoon.

City Center Investment Corp had submitted the plan for new apartment and retail buildings along Seventh Street.

“We want to bring a European flavor to walking through the city,” said James Gentile, the president of North Star Construction Management who is the construction manager for this project. “This will become a very great amenity to the city.”

The plan includes two buildings, one with five stories and the other with three with a total of 168 apartments between the two buildings.  The apartments will be roughly half with one bedroom and half with two bedrooms.

A representative of the Tenant Association of Allentown spoke up about his concerns over the price of these new apartments in a section of Allentown that is largely low income. 

His concern that such developments will lead to current residents of the area being pushed out of the city center were heard by the board but largely unaddressed. No rent price for these apartments has been set yet.

The first floor of both buildings will be for retail and restaurant use.

There will be approximately 12 to 15 retail spaces available, depending on the size of each store. Some larger spaces will be available for sit down restaurants.

No retailers have committed to the spaces just yet and no rental or lease fees have been determined.

There will also be a parking garage to further increase both retail and residential parking at the center.

North Star plans to extend the Arts Walk, which already comes along Sixth Street right near the property. This will be the first section of the Arts Walk that will not be owned by the city.

The center will also include a pocket park, described as an “oasis in the middle of the city” by Gentile.

This $30 million project could begin as early as November and is projected to be completed by the end of 2014.

The board also approved various façade improvements of buildings along Hamilton Street.

All of the projects emphasized the importance of cleaning up these properties and making their appearances more historically accurate.