A Year in Review: The Lehigh Valley’s business scene
By LVEDC Staff on December 17, 2013
The list of companies coming to Lehigh Valley or growing here resembles the lineup card at an all-star game.
Heavyweights Ocean Spray, Walmart, Freshpet, Crayola, Lightweight Manufacturing, Neovia, National Penn Bank, Follett Corporation and NFI topped the bill. But we’d be remiss to overlook such great arrivals as defense contractor Curtiss-Wright, premier meats crafter Bethlehem Sausage Works, and the men of steel at Michelman Steel.
These deals tallied more than $180 million of investment – a healthy dose of economic stimulus for our already robust $30 billion Lehigh Valley economy.
LVEDC’s Economic Development Finance Department was working its calculators hard in 2013. Our money lenders approved or closed 15 loans worth nearly $14 million for projects that topped $30 million.
The repercussions are staggering.
A total of 178 new jobs were created and another 643 retained. And the companies who turned to LVEDC for financing assistance include Ecopax, Altek Business Systems, ITR, Cantelmi’s Hardware, Lightweight Manufacturing and EcoTech Marine.
Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative (LVLRI) helped the region reclaim some of its past glory.
In 2013, LVLRI worked on 13 active projects including the former Weller Health Center in Easton, which is slated to become a year-round indoor farmers market; the Schoen’s Building in downtown Allentown, which is currently being redeveloped as part of the revitalization of center city Allentown; and the Slate Belt YMCA in Pen Argyl, where the Phase I of reconstruction is nearly finished.
These LVLRI projects are key pieces to a regional strategy that identifies modern trends in redevelopment with a focus on urban core revitalization and urban infill. LVLRI has amassed an impressive lineup of current and future projects that will recycle the brownfields and return them to the tax rolls.
It’s also been a banner year for Envision Lehigh Valley.
The partners involved in the Lehigh Valley’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant made some significant strides in gathering public input as nearly 4,100 residents had their say thanks to 26 public meetings and other social media outlets. As a result four reports were drafted during 2013 that shined a laser-like focus on adequate housing, fresh food availability and the City of Allentown’s Reindustrialization Plan.
There’s plenty more to come, including a Regional Sustainable Economic Development Plan and a climate and energy plan.
So as we close the door on 2013, LVEDC believes the New Year will be a super one for Lehigh Valley.
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