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Adaptive Reuse Discussed at Brokers & Developers Council Event

By LVEDC Staff on December 9, 2014

Evernote Camera Roll 20141208 142547b The Lehigh Valley’s three major cities are in the midst of a continuing revitalization. Local, regional, and national news is being made on a daily basis throughout this urban corridor. One of the key components of this remarkable resurgence is the adaptive reuse of buildings throughout these downtowns. On Tuesday December 2, the Brokers & Developers Council of LVEDC hosted a panel discussion to explore the challenges, successes, and resources available related to adaptive reuse.

The LVEDC panel was held in downtown Allentown at the Trifecta Building (formerly known as the Schoen’s Furniture Store). After nearly two decades of vacancy, and spurred by the incentive of Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone, the Schoen’s building has been redeveloped. Trifecta Technologies moved into state of the art offices in August 2014, joined by Shane Patrick Associates as building tenants. LVEDC’s panel was held on the first floor of the building, which is a 7,000 SF being marketed as prime downtown restaurant space.

The event began with an introduction from Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski. Mayor Pawlowski identified the redevelopment of the Schoen’s Building as one the major success stories in the continued renaissance of downtown Allentown. The Mayor said that reopening this building was “one of the really good days” of his term in office, and he looked forward to more stories like Schoen’s throughout the City of Allentown.

“Making old buildings come alive again with new uses is a major part of a successful economic development agenda,” said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of LVEDC. “We are fortunate that across our cities and urban downtowns in the Lehigh Valley we have willing developers and excellent professionals to support making that happen. It is a focus of our economic development efforts and funding to find ways to reuse buildings and restore their past glory in our cities and downtowns.”

To understand the full spectrum of adaptive reuse, the panelist included environmental consultant Betsy Schamberger of Moonstone Environmental, Todd Chambers Associate Partner at MKSD architects, Derrick Davis of Shane Patrick Construction, and LVEDC’s redevelopment specialist Andrew Kleiner.

Mr. Davis and Mr. Chambers were able to shed light on both the aesthetic and financial benefits of reuse projects with Mr. Chambers noting that “these buildings have significant character and we cannot lose that character as it defines these urban regions.”

Ms. Schamberger spoke about the common environmental contaminants in older buildings and detailed the value of the environmental assessment process as it helps to “demystify any worry of potential contamination”. The environmental process highlighted by Ms. Schamberger was further deconstructed by Mr. Kleiner as he highlighted the wealth of resources available to facilitate adaptive reuse projects at LVEDC. Mr. Kleiner said: “LVEDC, through its redevelopment committee the Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative, helped the project team at the Schoen’s Building through Phase I site assessment and Asbestos and lead work. It is why we are here. It is the work we do for redevelopment at LVEDC. It’s great to see a success story like Schoen’s.”

Available space in 612 W. Hamilton Street includes a premier center city Allentown restaurant location, with 7,000 SF available for lease on the ground floor. Outside dining and a liquor license are available. The space is being represented by Feinberg Real Estate Advisors. For more information, visit FeinbergREA.com or call 610-709-6233.

 

 

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