ALLENTOWN, Pa. - After a challenging two years, things look to be moving at full force in the Greater Lehigh Valley.

"I'm excited about the downtown particularly. I think we have a lot of pent-up demand," said Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk.

In Allentown, ground is breaking on the 67,000-square-foot and nearly $80 million Da Vinci Science Center.

It's a transformational project for the downtown, Tuerk says, and that's just the beginning. After a decade of development, the Jaindl Waterfront project is vertical, with office space and apartments opening in 2022.

Right next door, Jersey-City based Manhattan Building is working on a bold plan for hundreds more apartments and new retail.

All happening in the shadow of the Tilghman Street Bridge.

"I promise that in 2022, the Tilghman Street Bridge will be open," Tuerk said.

And Allentown's City Center is bringing even more apartments online this year.

"2022 is going to be the acceleration of what we've put into place throughout 2021," said Jill Wheeler, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at City Center.

Projects include 250 units at The Hive on 7th and Linden; The Gallery at 932 Hamilton with 108 apartments; and a block down, another 125 units at 1010 Hamilton.

City Center is working on one more project, in Easton - the Marquis, their first outside of Allentown.

"The Marquis will be over 400,000 square feet. Over 270 apartments. We're breaking ground in the fall of this year," Wheeler said.

And there's a lot more on deck for Easton, says Mayor Sal Panto.

"These economic development projects are bringing people. Putting feet on our street," Panto said.

New York City-based Optima Durant Group is opening the $21-million Commodore this year - right at the entrance to the city.

Work will start on the Nature Nurture Center at the Iron and Metal Site, as well as the Confluence, an $80-million project replacing the Days Inn, with 250 apartments, a restaurant, and two downtown movie theaters leased by ArtsQuest.

And the work continues over in Bethlehem.

"We're seeing people that can choose to live anywhere that want to live in the city of Bethlehem," said Bethlehem Mayor William Reynolds.

Three new mixed use apartment projects are slated for the city's south side this year, not to mention the $90-million hotel expansion at Wind Creek.

Over on the north side, work will begin on the long-vacant Boyd Theater, which will come down to make way for 195 apartments from DLP Capital.

And even more units are expected for the Laros Silk Mill a few blocks away.

The development is needed for the growing downtown core, says Reynolds.

"The one thing we're seeing throughout cities - especially Bethlehem - is that people want to be near your commercial corridors, by your main streets," Reynolds said.

And across the region, PennDOT is planning $200 million in new infrastructure projects, in addition to the $130 million already in progress. Updates are finishing up on Route 22, Route 100, Route 248, and Route 512. Work is beginning on the Cementon Bridge​ replacement.

"It's a big deal. It's a lot of money and it's a lot of projects," said PennDOT spokesman Ron Young.

It looks like a busy 2022 in the Lehigh Valley.

"It looks good here. It looks real good here," Tuerk said.

Scroll down for comments if available

Recommended for you