Bethlehem will be seeing more development to the city, as Saucon Valley School District gave its approval Tuesday night to allow a tax break to new businesses building on Commerce Center.
The Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) is a special tax zone that allows businesses to pay 10% of the taxes on their new buildings during the first year. The tax rate increases by an additional 10% every year for the following 10 years, until the tenant is paying 100% of the building tax. The tax on the land is continued to be paid at the 100% rate, as LERTA only applies to the buildings.
The tax cuts draw business owners looking for industrial space located in the Commerce Center area. Commerce Center is an ideal location for industrial business, as it is located by I-78 and railways.
The zone is being used by Majestic Realty to build Majestic Bethlehem Center for industrial businesses.
. Majestic is bringing 8-million square feet of space to Bethlehem, transforming the industrial land into an industrial park.
"It's a logistics center that's being built on a ground field in an urban core," stated Joe Kelly, Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Bethlehem. "This tax incentive make a difference, to the user and the shared future we have because the redevelopment of that site is as much of our future as it is for you."
Ed Konjoyan, vice president of Majestic Realty, assured the board that they are taking measures to employ PA state residents for their construction projects. Non-local work is something that had concerned the board in the past. The 652-acre business park is expected to bring 5,000 jobs for the citizens of Bethlehem.
The City of Bethlehem has already approved LERTA, the county is the remaining factor in the final approval.
"[It's] an opportunity for us to continue to support the business community that supports our school district, it's important for us to support this," said board member Sandra Miller.
During Tuesday night's meeting, Saucon Valley School Board unanimously approved the LERTA.