LVHN Redeveloping Former Bimbo Bakeries Site into Health Center

By Colin McEvoy on June 16, 2016

A rendering of the Lehigh Valley Health Network's planned Health Center at Easton.

A rendering of the Lehigh Valley Health Network’s planned Health Center at Easton.

In yet another redevelopment success story for the Lehigh Valley, a former Bimbo Bakeries site is being transformed into a new health center operated by the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN).

Construction crews have broken ground at 2401 Northampton Street on what will be the Health Center at Easton, a two-story, 40,000 square-foot center offering community members multiple health care services.

“Our hope is that – at this former bakery site that nourished this community for decades – we will create a resource that will support local residents and families in nourishing their health each and every day,” Brian Nester, President and CEO of LVHN, said in a statement.

Projected to be complete in the summer of 2017, the new health center is expected to create about 30 health care jobs and accommodate 15,000 patient visits in its first year, Nester said. The total cost of the project is $6 million.

The site has been vacant since Bimbo Bakeries relocated in 2014 to a new $75 million facility Upper Macungie Township, a 240,000 square-foot plant that employs 150 people and is capable of producing 190 loaves of bread and about 175 eight-packs of buns every 60 seconds.

The new Health Center at Easton is the latest in a series of redevelopment success stories for the Lehigh Valley. Others include the recently-opened Easton Public Market and the Trifecta Technologies building and gourmet burger restaurant Bell Hall in Allentown.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) supports redevelopment through the Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative (LVLRI), its program focused on promoting economic development through the reuse of abandoned and underutilized commercial and industrial properties, also known as brownfields.

Although LVLRI was not involved with the Health Center at Easton project, the program had one of the busiest and most successful years in its nearly two-decade history last year, working on 11 active redevelopment projects in various stages, roughly twice the number of projects as some previous years.

“Fostering economic development while protecting human health and the environment is one of many ways LVEDC works to support sustainable development in the Lehigh Valley,” said Andrew Kleiner, LVEDC Director of Redevelopment and External Affairs. “These successful projects are major catalyst projects that will create a lot of new jobs in the region.”

The Health Center at Easton will bring care already provided by LVHN closer to residents of Easton and surrounding communities, including including primary care for families, testing treatment services, access to Health Network Laboratories, and ExpressCARE, or walk-in care for minor injuries and common illnesses.

This will be LVHN’s fourth Health Center in Northampton County, joining others in Bangor, Bath, and Bethlehem Township. The health network also has Health Centers in Lehigh County at Emmaus, Fogelsville, Macungie, and the Health & Wellness Center at Muhlenberg and Trexlertown, as well as others in Berks, Bucks, and Luzerne counties.

Easton area residents are encouraged to sign up here for updates on the Health Cetner at Easton.

The Health Center at Easton’s opening will coincide with the planned opening of the four-story Specialty Care Pavilion at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg, which will bring inpatient rehabilitation, obstetrics, and newborn services to the Bethlehem hospital for the first time in its 54-year history.

“By providing OB/GYN care here in Easton and birthing services at LVH-Muhlenberg, we’ll be creating convenience for women who formerly traveled from the Easton area to LVH-Cedar Crest for OB/GYN care,” said Jim Geiger, President of Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg.

LVHN includes five hospital campuses, including three in Allentown, one in Bethlehem and one in Hazleton, Pa. The network also includes numerous primary and specialty care physician practices throughout the region; pharmacy, imaging, home health services and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred.

The construction project will be developed and owned by J.G. Petrucci Company, Inc., which also is serving as designer and builder. Iron Hill Construction Management Company will be construction manager, and the project team also includes MKSD ArchitectsCerminara Architects and Pany & Lentz Engineering Company.

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This story first appeared in the second issue of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development magazine, a publication developed by LVEDC and Journal Communications. This mag[...]

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