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Sacred Heart Hospital gets green light on 2 downtown Allentown projects

By Joe McDonald, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 02 2013 10:47:57 PM CDT
ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Sacred Heart Hospital in downtown Allentown received approval for two projects Wednesday from the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone.

The hospital, which said it has regained financial stability over the last three years, got the green light for the purchase and renovation of a medical office building at 451 W. Chew St., a $3.6 million project.

The ANIZ committee studying the projects also approved plans for a $1.2 million renovation at Seton Hall at the corner of 402 W. Chew St./248 N. Fourth St.

The hospital plans to relocate its hospice program to the Seton Hall  building, a 16,848 square foot building that is expected to generate more than $3.5 million in payroll and $113,000 in NIZ taxes.

The other building at 451 W. Chew St., a 59,824 square foot structure,  was built in 1985 and operated by a physician general partnership. The remaining members of the partnership have agreed to buy the building for $2.9 million and spend another $645,000 on renovations.

The hospital already leases about 25 percent of the building for primary care and specialty physicians.

The building is expected to generate a $3 million payroll and $100,000 in NIZ taxes.

The plans were approved following a presentation by John Nespoli, the hospital’s president and CEO.

Nespoli said the two projects are expected to generate 180 new jobs over the next five years.

“This is a no-brainer,” said board member Alan Jennings.

The full board is expected to weigh in on the plans when it meets in November.

The neighborhood improvement zone consists of about 130 acres in center city Allentown and along the western side of the Lehigh River.