Bethlehem Projects Receive $1.4 Million in Enterprise Zone Tax Credits

By Colin McEvoy on January 14, 2021

Three Bethlehem projects have been awarded a combined $1.4 million in Enterprise Zone Tax Credits through the city’s Neighborhood Assistance Program.

EcoTech Marine, Triple Net Investment XXXV, and Palace Row LLC were awarded the funding in support of their current development projects, according to the Bethlehem Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

The city’s Enterprise Zone helps to facilitate economic development and renovate blighted properties. A total of 11 Enterprise Zone Tax Credit awards have been granted over the past six years to projects in the Bethlehem, totaling $3.6 million in investment.

This program has proven to provide value to Bethlehem, the development community, and businesses looking to expand or relocate in the city, according to Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez.

“Bethlehem is one of five communities in the Commonwealth with the Enterprise Zone designation,” Donchez said. “This unlocks tax credits for new development and renovation projects in the city that prove to be vital to the overall success of the project.”

Triple Net Investment and EcoTech Marine will each be receiving $500,000, while Palace Row will receive $436,721, according to Dennis Davin, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

“The Neighborhood Assistance Program demonstrates what is best about Pennsylvania: our critical partnerships, our commitment to community, and our tremendous spirit of giving,” Davin said. “These investments are a promise to our communities that together, we will overcome our current challenges and build a better future for everyone who calls our commonwealth home.”

Any property owner, developer, or company interested in learning more about the Enterprise Zone and other economic development programs are encouraged to contact the Bethlehem DCED.

The Bethlehem funding is part of $36 million in total statewide funding through the Neighborhood Assistance Program to support 214 community revitalization projects across the commonwealth, which was announced by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Dec. 7.

EcoTech Marine, a designer and manufacturer of high-quality aquarium equipment, is leasing new space in Bethlehem, a move that will company officials say will help the company grow and expand its footprint in the Northeastern United States.

The company, which began as a startup company at Bethlehem’s Lehigh University in 2003, will be leasing 88,007 square-feet in the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII. EcoTech will be investing a total of $2 million in the project, housing 80 employees at the new facility.

“Everyone at EcoTech is thrilled to be moving back to our old stomping grounds in Bethlehem,” said Pat Clasen, Patrick Clasen, Director of Finance at EcoTech Marine.

“The teams at the LVEDC and J.G. Petrucci company really came together to provide us with the perfect location and facility to launch EcoTech into the next phase of our business,” Clasen said. “EcoTech continues to expand our product lines for the aquarium industry, and we are well-positioned to move into new markets, including terrariums and horticulture.”

Triple Net Investments XXXV LP is investing more than $13 million to construct a new 150,000 square-foot industrial building at 1025 Feather Way.  The building will be leased to the newly-announced Bowery Farming, Inc., which will employ 70 people at the site.

This will be the first indoor vertical farm in Pennsylvania and the fourth such project in the country, creating new jobs for the Lehigh Valley. Construction is projected to be completed by mid-2021.

Palace Row LLC is investing $1.75 million to renovate the 11,374 square-foot abandoned property at 409-411 Wyandotte St. and add two storefronts along with six apartments, according to the city.

MetroPCS will occupy one of the storefronts, while the other can be either a restaurant or another business. The apartments will target low- to middle-income residents, with the possibility of partnering with New Bethany Ministries to provide housing units.

Construction was planned to start in October and it is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2021, according to Jackson Eigmy of Palace Row LLC.

“We are very excited to have received this tremendous opportunity from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the DCED,” Eigmy said. “Being born and raised in Bethlehem, the outlook of the city is very important to both Tucker and me. The property is in prime location for both public transportation and assistance from other community leaders.”

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