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City Center latest in series of developments in Allentown

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: May 31 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: May 31 2013 10:26:42 PM CDT

With another major development announced Friday for downtown Allentown, it can be hard keeping with all the new construction.  69 News is breaking it all down for you.

The latest addition is a seven-story luxury apartment building with shops and restaurants on the ground floor.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

With another major development announced Friday for downtown Allentown, it can be hard keeping with all the new construction.

The latest addition is a seven-story luxury apartment building with shops and restaurants on the ground floor.

"This whole corner is going to be transformed with two new buildings," said Mayor Ed Pawlowski, (D-Allentown).

Developers also plan to extend Allentown's art walk, connecting the Allentown Art Museum to the new hockey arena.

"This project is the glue that will bind the new offices, the hotel, the arena, with our terrific arts venues," said developer J.B. Reilly.

Reilly, along with Philadelphia-based Pennrose Properties, will build the multi-million dollar project.  It's just the latest project surrounding Allentown's new hockey arena, now under construction.  Here's a breakdown of everything that's going up:

NW Corner of 7th and Hamilton streets:

- PPL Arena (hockey and concert arena, up to 10 thousand seats)

- One City Center (seven-story office complex with a new LVH sports medicine clinic) -- attached to the arena on the left side

- Hotel (seven stories, chain to be announced) -- attached to the arena on the right side

NE Corner of 7th and Hamilton:

- Two City Center (11 stories and the new headquarters for National Penn Bank)

Corner of 7th and Walnut streets:

- Three City Center (five-story office complex)

Hamilton Street across from PPL Plaza:

- Alvin Butz Construction headquarters expansion

"It is tremendous what has transpired in such a short period of time," said Don Cunningham, head of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation.

But Cunningham also said Allentown has to do more to convince people to actually live downtown.  He admitted that crime is still a concern; so is the lack of grocery stores.

"For some reason, grocery stores have shifted to this kind of 'big box' footprint," said Cunningham.  "In the Lehigh Valley, it takes some work to get the smaller, neighborhood-based grocers that you might see in Philadelphia or New York."

Along with the hockey arena, many of these buildings are set to open next spring.