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LVEDC Hosts Gathering of Lehigh Valley’s Commercial Real Estate Leaders

By Colin McEvoy on December 12, 2022

LVEDC hosted a gathering of the Lehigh Valley’s developers and commercial real estate leaders at the organization’s office on Dec. 6.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) hosted a gathering of the region’s developers and commercial real estate leaders, part of ongoing efforts by the organization to maintain regular lines of communication about economic and industrial trends in the region.

“We like to keep our ear to the ground by listening to all of you about major issues you’re seeing across the Lehigh Valley in terms of development,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham. “Whether it’s in terms of industrial and manufacturing development, or commercial office, it’s helpful to us whenever we can get that feedback from you.”

LVEDC hosted an informal mixer event on Dec. 6, the first of its kind since the organization moved into its new office earlier this year at the former Bethlehem Club building at 520 N. New Street in historic downtown Bethlehem.

More than 40 people attended the event, including representatives from Barry Isett & Associates, Boyle Construction, CBRE, City Center Lehigh Valley, Cushman & Wakefield, the Garibaldi Group, J.G. Petrucci Co., JLL, Langan Engineering, Lee & Associates, MKSD architects, NAI Summit, Quandel Construction Group, Stevens & Lee, and other organizations.

“It was a great event, and it was really nice to see everybody and have the opportunity to hold conversations with multiple people involved in development in the Lehigh Valley,” said Phil Schenkel, Executive Vice President at JLL. “I was happy to visit LVEDC’s new office and see that the organization has established a presence in a great historic structure.”

LVEDC shared and discussed economic data about the regional economy, including the Lehigh Valley’s gross domestic product, which has risen to a record-high $47 billion. Manufacturing is now the region’s largest economic sector, making up $8.4 billion.

“Those who support construction and development projects help make that happen,” Cunningham said. “We are very glad to be able to get back together in person with this broker and developer group and all of you who are involved in helping make the growth possible here in the Lehigh Valley.”

The new office, located in a three-story building LVEDC leases, affords the organization greater opportunities for holding events and functions, as well as for hosting site selectors, business executives, and other economic development professionals visiting from outside the region.

“When I was standing in this building as a young mayor back in 1998, when it was still the Bethlehem Club, we never would have imagined that we’d have the economic renaissance and redevelopment and growth that we’ve had across the whole region,” Cunningham said. “And that’s because of the work that you all do all across the Lehigh Valley.”

LVEDC also distributed hard copies of its newly-released Lehigh Valley Commercial Real Estate Report, which highlighted the growth of the region’s commercial real estate market and the expansion of several manufacturing firms in the Lehigh Valley.

The newest edition covers data from the third quarter of 2022. LVEDC publishes the report each quarter, providing a detailed overview of industrial and office market activity and notable real estate transactions in the region.

With a record low vacancy rate of 3.8%, the Lehigh Valley’s real estate market grew to 145 million square feet, indicating a robust demand for space in one of America’s fastest growing markets, according to the report. A digital version of the new issue can be downloaded here.

While average industrial asking rent rose to $8.70 a square foot, the price is nearly half the rate of properties in nearby northern and central New Jersey, according to the report. About 658,000 square feet of new industrial and flex space have been added to the market.

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