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LVEDC has Federal Grant Funds Available for Redevelopment Projects

By Colin McEvoy on June 17, 2016

The Trifecta Technologies building, formerly the vacant Schoen’s Furniture Store in Easton, is among the Lehigh Valley's recent redevelopment success stories.

The Trifecta Technologies building, formerly the vacant Schoen’s Furniture Store in Allentown, is among the Lehigh Valley’s recent redevelopment success stories.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) has federal grant funds available for assessment and planning for regional redevelopment projects.

Those funds are available through LVEDC’s redevelopment program, the Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative (LVLRI), which is focused on promoting economic development through the reuse of abandoned and underutilized commercial and industrial properties, also known as brownfields.

“We have federal dollars available, and perhaps more importantly, we have the knowledge and resources to help market and develop brownfields into sustainable development projects for the Lehigh Valley,” said Andrew Kleiner, LVEDC Director of Redevelopment and External Affairs.

Andrew Kleiner

Andrew Kleiner

Funds are currently available for Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments, as well as site cleanup planning. LVLRI works directly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) throughout the project process to streamline redevelopment efforts.

For more information about how to take advantage of these funds, contact Kleiner at 610-266-7619 or [email protected].

LVLRI has been in operation since 1998, and in that time more than $400 million of project cost has been leveraged by using assistance from the program, with nearly 2,000 acres assessed and planned for to facilitate redevelopment.

The program is currently managing eight active redevelopment projects in various stages, Kleiner said, and in the past has assisted with such successful projects as the Trifecta Building and Bell Hall restaurant in Allentown, the Slate Belt YMCA, the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem, and the Easton Public Market, as well as the ongoing Allentown Waterfront project.

“We experienced one of the busiest and most successful years LVLRI’s history last year, and we’re seeing similar project and prospect volume this year as well,” Kleiner said. “The success stories we’re helping to facilitate are major catalyst projects that will create a lot of new jobs in the Lehigh Valley.”

LVLRI has consistently won federal and state grant funding opportunities to promote redevelopment, with recent examples including a $500,000 EPA hazardous assessment grant, and a $468,000 Growing Greener DEP grant for cleanup and redevelopment activities at the Allentown Waterfront.

The program has previously been recognized by the EPA in national success stories for Bell Hall, the Easton Public Market, and the Allentown Waterfront, and last year the program was among the few chosen to present in the National Brownfields Conference in Chicago.

LVLRI accomplishes brownfields redevelopment in several ways, including helping site owners and developers identify financial assistance for environmental assessment and remediation work at brownfield sites, and by assisting on technical matters such as grant/loan application preparation, environmental work plan preparation, and the completion of buyer/seller agreements.

Additionally, LVLRI serves as an intermediary between all parties involved in a brownfield transaction, and maintains an inventory of underutilized commercial/industrial properties throughout the Lehigh Valley.

LVLRI is an advisory committee comprised of municipal officials from cities, boroughs and townships in both Lehigh and Northampton counties, as well as brownfield experts, regulatory agency representatives, private developers, engineers, and consultants.

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