Northampton County has reached an agreement to sell the Martin J. Bechtel Building in Bethlehem to Atty. Justin K. McCarthy for more than $1.57 million.
The Bechtel property is located at 520 E. Broad S. It was built in 1966 and purchased by Northampton County in 1993 for $763,000.
“We are delighted that this transaction will place the building back on the tax rolls providing additional revenue to the city, school district and county,” said Northampton County Executive John Stoffa in a statement.
The agreed upon sales price is $1,575,000 for the 2.12 acres of land, which includes the 29,088-square-foot office building and about 95 parking spaces.
The sales agreement is subject to the approval of Northampton County Council.
The Bechtel Building now serves as a base for the county's Department of Human Services divisions -- Drug and Alcohol, Early Intervention, Health Choices, Mental Health and Developmental Programs -- as well as its Weights and Measures Division and a juvenile probation satellite office.
The county is relocating all Human Services functions from the Bechtel Building, as well as the Wolf Building in Easton, into a new 66,000-square-foot facility in Bethlehem Township. That relocation is scheduled to take place before March 31.
McCarthy will be relocating his law office and other professional offices (TJ McHale & Co, Inc., Insurance Agency, and Michael W. La Porta Insurance), which are being displaced from 528 N. New St. due to that building’s conversion to residential units.
McCarthy plans to rent out the balance of the Bechtel building for multiple tenant professional offices.
“This is a win - win situation," said Stoffa. "It contributes to the revitalization of Bethlehem, and Northampton County will reinvest the revenue from this sale into the new Human Service facility.
"Now that both the Wolf and Bechtel buildings are under agreement, it completes two of the most critical factors of Northampton County’s transition to a new centralized Human Services center that can better serve our 18,000 clients.”
Closing would occur immediately after county council's approval. McCarthy will move into 2,200 square feet on the first floor and lease the balance of the building back to the county until it vacates before March 31. Instead of rent, the county will continue to pay the utilities and minor repairs and maintenance.
Said McCarthy: “I would like to thank Northampton County for its quick response and flexibility in accommodating our conditions of purchase in particular the sale and leaseback so that we can promptly move into the Bechtel building.”