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Council approves sale of one of two county human services buildings

By Len Righi, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Jun 20 2013 11:05:58 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 20 2013 11:07:38 PM CDT
EASTON, Pa. -

Northampton County Council approved the sale Thursday night of one of the two buildings it uses for its Human Services department for $1,925,000.

The Wolf Building at 45 North 2nd St., Easton, and the almost three-and-a-half acres that go with it, were sold to the Wolf Building Development Group headed by Mark Mulligan.

The developer plans on using the building's first floor for commercial space and the upper floors for high-end residential units.

Mulligan told council that the sale could be in trouble if the state does not designate the Wolf Building area as a Keystone Opportunity Zone this fall.

The KOZ designation allows for various tax credits, waivers and abatements to encourage businesses to redevelop an area.

Easton city council, the Easton Area School Board and county council have all signed off on creating a KOZ in the Wolf Building area.

Council president John Cusick was especially happy that the sale is virtually a done deal. "I'm ready to grab boxes and get down there tomorrow morning," he told Mulligan, after noting that the county had to buy back the building's parking lot years after it had been sold for a parking garage and apartment project that never happened.

Council sold the Wolf Building, which is home to The Area Agency on Aging, Children, Youth and Families, and Veterans Affairs, because the county is consolidating its Human Resources department into a new centralized facility at 2801 Emerick Blvd., Bethlehem Township.

Construction of the new building is underway, and the county will be moving in no later than next June 1, according to an information packet given to council.

The county is also trying to sell its other site for Human Services, the Bechtel building at 520 East Broad St., Bethlehem, which has 29,000 square feet of office space and about 95 parking spaces on 2.12 acres.