Tuesday, November 17, 2020

More Positive Developments in Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone

It was a busy week for the commercial property market in downtown Allentown, Pennsylvania.

For those tracking the growth and development occurring within the unique tax-incentive program contained entirely within Pennsylvania’s third largest city, the past 10 days have offered plenty of reasons for optimism.

The biggest news is the Jaindl Group’s announcement that it will be proceeding with construction on a 125,000-square-foot Class A office on Allentown’s riverfront before the end of the year.

Last week, the local developer told the Neighborhood Improvement Zone authority it would soon break ground on the first project on its long-planned Riverfront development.

Jaindl, one of the region’s largest land owners, has long had big plans for the riverfront, but redevelopment proved trickier than anticipated. It has put more than $18 million into getting the infrastructure set in the 26-acre site, which sits alongside the Leigh River.

If Jaindl fully follows through with its current plans, it will put more than $425 million into the Waterfront development before it’s all said and done. That would bring 690,000 square feet of premium office space, 165,000 square feet of retail and more than 550 units of four-star multifamily to Allentown's 6th Ward.

Jaindl will have some help from the state of Pennsylvania. The entirety of the Waterfront is contained within Allentown's "Neighborhood Improvement Zone," which incentivizes developers to build within the city by offsetting the financial risk of doing so.

So far, only one group has taken advantage of this plan. City Center, another local developer, has put more than $700 million building modern offices, apartments and retail in the Hamilton District. These projects have been largely successful at lease-up, and the firm recently notched up another pair of wins.

In the past 10 days, the group has filled nearly 20,000 square feet at Five City Center, its newest four-star office. One of those firms to take space, Raymond James and Associates, consolidated three regional offices across the Lehigh Valley for city space. 


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