City Center Lehigh Valley plans to purchase Allentown's Gallery on the Mall property from PPL Electric Utilities later this year.
The vacant two-story building at 932-944 Hamilton St. has been deemed structurally unusable and was approved for demolition by the Allentown Zoning Hearing Board in April.
PPL said the 38-year-old structure is in danger of collapsing and the zoning board was advised it has no architectural or historical significance.
Following PPL’s demolition of the building, which will begin soon, City Center will purchase the property and may build an additional Class A office and retail building on it.
Terms of the purchase were not disclosed in the announcement made by J.B. Reilly, president of CCLV.
“Now that physical signs of construction are progressing in we have experienced strong interest from both local and out-of-area companies about locating in downtown Allentown,” Reilly said in a news release.
“I want to be ready to meet demand, particularly from some of the large out-of-state users we are in discussions with. It is critical we have development sites available. The PPL property is a perfect site for an office building to house a large our-of-state user. "
Said Donald Bernhard, PPL’s director of Community Affairs: “PPL has contributed in many ways to the revitalization of downtown Allentown. City Center has demonstrated a similar commitment. Selling the Gallery Building property to City Center offers the potential for further development, more jobs and greater renewed vitality in downtown Allentown." said Donald Bernhard, PPL’s director of community affairs.
City Center is investing $500 million to help transform downtown Allentown "into one of America’s most vibrant urban communities and a regional center of excellence for business, culture and metropolitan living."
City Center’s first two high-rise mixed-use buildings already are fully leased although they're still being built. City Center recently announced plans for a third Class A office and retail building on the 500 block of Hamilton Street. City Center has also begun to renovate several properties along Hamilton Street for retail space and restaurants with loft-style office space above. The City Center development will also contain 165 luxury apartments and retail and restaurant space along Allentown’s Artswalk.