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Fortune Magazine Names Allentown One of Five Cities with “Up-and-Coming” Downtowns

By Colin McEvoy on July 20, 2015

Fortune Magazine identified Allentown as one of five U.S. cities with "up-and-coming" downtowns.

Fortune Magazine identified Allentown as one of five U.S. cities with “up-and-coming” downtowns.

The revitalization of downtown Allentown continues to draw national attention, including a recent endorsement from Fortune Magazine.

Fortune, one of the top business magazines in the country, identified Allentown as one of the top five cities with resurgent, “up-and-coming” downtown neighborhoods.

“One of the big stories of the past few years has been the striking resurgence of cities,” Leigh Gallagher, Fortune’s assistant managing editor, said in the three-minute video.

“It’s almost hard to remember the days of the 70s and 80s when crime in cities was rampant and when everyone was fleeing to the suburbs,” she said. “But while most people point to New York or Los Angeles or San Francisco as examples of this trend, it’s actually happening in cities of all sizes and in all corners of the country.”

Check out the full video on the Fortune magazine website or watch it below:

Gallagher notes that Allentown has come a long way since its reputation as a “classic story of rust belt decline,” noting the construction of the Renaissance Allentown Hotel, the PPL Center hockey arena, and more than $1 billion in planned office, retail, and luxury residential space.

She credited Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) tax district for the resurgence, as well as the desire among the millennials to live in cities. Other downtowns in the video include Cincinnati, Ohio; Louisville, Ky.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Des Moines, Iowa.

The more than $300 million Allentown Waterfront project has also received outside attention. The 26-acre mixed-use development alongside the Lehigh River was the subject of an article by Keystone Edge, one of Pennsylvania’s leading online publications about economic development.

In a story titled “A megaproject on the Allentown waterfront could change everything,” writer Samantha Wittchen discusses the venture by Jaindl Properties and Dunn Twiggar, which aims to turn former Lehigh Structural Steel land into Class A offices, market-rate apartments, first floor retail, and new restaurants alongside a newly-enhanced River Walk.

“Economic development and urban revitalization are never easy tasks, and what works well in one city may not work as well in another — each has its unique set of assets and challenges,” Wittchen writes. “But if The Waterfront can deliver as promised, it has the potential to become a case study in how to smartly redevelop ailing urban industrial waterfronts.”

Check out the full story at the Keystone Edge website.


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