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Owners of Lehigh Valley Phantoms meet with local business leaders

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 16 2013 04:24:14 PM CDT

In just about a year, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms will be skating into Allentown.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

In just about a year, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms will be skating into Allentown. 

The roof of the team's 10,000-seat arena in Allentown is set to be finished by Thanksgiving.

"We are pretty excited. Been working on this project for eight years now," said Rob Brooks, a team co-owner.

Brooks, and his brother Jim, another owner, were the stars at a Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce luncheon inside the Cosmopolitan restaurant on Wednesday.

"It was the Lehigh Valley that had the most to offer," Jim Brooks said.

Despite scouting the country for the best location, the brothers said skating into the Lehigh Valley was always the main goal when the team was bought five years ago.

"You look at the growth in the area, civic pride people already have in the area. I think that was even furthered when you saw the success of the IronPigs," Jim Brooks said.

The brothers grew up in Pittsburgh, which is where they said a sense of community pride started.

In the 1990s, their father bought part of the Pirates and Penguins just to keep the teams from leaving. In total, the family has interests in nine teams.

The pair said the new Allentown arena is a way to ensure people continue to come back into a revitalized downtown.

"Not just hockey. We're talking about 150 events. Something for everyone, family shows, concerts everything," the brothers stressed.

Business owners were able to ask the brothers questions, one being if local, small business will be utilized within the arena. The brothers said yes.

The arena, hotel and office complex is set to open next fall.