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Developer given extra time to arrange financing for Neuweiler Brewery deal

Published On: Oct 22 2013 07:14:03 PM CDT
ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

The developer trying to bring beer-making back to the long-vacant Neuweiler Brewery property in Allentown has been given an extra six weeks to put together the financing deal.

The Allentown Commercial Industrial Development Authority voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to reset the deadline for New York City-based Ruckus Brewing from Oct. 31 to Dec. 15.

Ruckus signed a $1.7 million agreement of sale with ACIDA to buy the 4.5-acre Neuweiler property on North Front Street near the Lehigh River in April.

Ruckus has since proposed a $33 million plan that would revitalize a decrepit building that has been empty since 1968 by turning it into a working brewery with a brew pub and office space.
Josh Wood told the authority that he and his Ruckus partners are "working hard" to finalize the deal and assured them, "We're in this to win it. It's a pretty complicated process, but we're confident we can come up with the financing."

Part of the holdup has to do with the list of requirements Ruckus has to meet to be eligible for state and local tax revenues from Allentown's Neighborhood Improvement Zone, said Ruckus consultant Michael Fleck.

Wood said that "everything is going fantastic" in Ruckus' dealings with the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority to put together a loan and financing package.

But, he added, if the ANIZDA would balk at helping Ruckus, "that drastically changes our plan."

The deadline extension will allow Ruckus to develop "a secondary strategy," Wood said. "We're picking up every rock and looking underneath."

In other business, ACIDA executive director Scott Unger told the board that he executed an agreement of sale last Thursday with developer J.B. Reilly's Center City Investment Corp. for the former Colonial Theatre lot in the 500 block of Hamilton Street.

The board signed off on the million-dollar deal for the vacant .63-acre lot on Hamilton Street late last month.

The developer delivered a $25,000 deposit to ACIDA and now has until March to close the deal, Unger noted.

The board announced that its next meeting will be at 4 p.m. Nov. 28 on the third floor of City Hall.