Q&A with Zachary Jaindl of The Waterfront Project
By LVEDC Staff on July 23, 2013
Editor’s Note: The developers of the project officially known at The Waterfront in Allentown have ambitious plans. Their intentions are to develop about 26 acres of industrial land along the western side of the Lehigh River in the City of Allentown into a unique destination spot. With its half-mile of direct river frontage, The Waterfront will be the only location of its kind in the Lehigh Valley to offer unparalleled views of and direct access to the Lehigh River. LVEDC recently interviewed Zachary Jaindl, senior operations officer for Jaindl Properties, about the project.
Congratulations on the recent ruling that allows The Waterfront Project to move ahead. How about a quick overview on the scope of the project and a timeline on the work that will be done in 2014 and beyond?
Thank you. The tentative approval is certainly a giant leap in a positive direction for our project and we are excited to continue down the road toward groundbreaking.
The project will consist of 1,000,000 square feet of mixed-use space broken down into 610,000 square feet of Class A office, 250,000 square feet of luxury apartments, 120,000 square feet of street-level retail and 30,000 square feet of new restaurant opportunities. The Waterfront will also offer a vibrant river walk, active main street (to be known as Waterfront Drive), two lively open plazas, and direct river access, which opens up the water for boating and other recreational activities. The combination and layout have been carefully planned to ensure we have the perfect mix of opportunities that compliment one another to form a vibrant urban district along the Lehigh River.
Whether one is looking for office space with water views, new living opportunities along a safe and clean main street, to enjoy a beautiful day out by the river along the River Walk, or simply visit one of the many shops and restaurants and dine along the garden patios, the opportunities are vast.
The project just received tentative approval on July 9th, which will be followed by a final plan submission within the next three months. Our groundbreaking on the first building, 615 Waterfront, is anticipated to occur around the first quarter of 2014, with completion of that building in early 2015. From that point our development will be mostly market driven, but we anticipate roughly one building a year until the completion of our second residential building, marking the ninth property and end to our development.
How did the Dunn Twiggar and Jaindl Properties partnership come to be – and what prompted your desire to dive into such an impressive development project?
Ryan Dunn and Andy Twiggar, together Dunn Twiggar Company, LLC, had a vision for this property back in 2006: they saw a residential development framing the Lehigh River with a plethora of gardens and opportunities to enjoy the Lehigh River.
Jaindl Properties, founded by Mark Jaindl and myself, have spent considerable time preserving and restoring historical Allentown properties (including the former Shimer mansion at 1519 W. Hamilton Street and the Lehigh Valley Trust Building.) In late 2011 we had our own vision for the property and that’s when we began discussions with Dunn Twiggar Company regarding the redevelopment of The Waterfront.
In January 2012 our two companies formed a partnership to begin development on The Waterfront, and we believe our varying skill sets have been great complements toward the ultimate build-out of this site.
A quarter-billion dollars is a lot to invest in any project. Why Allentown… and why the Waterfront?
Simply: we believe in our region and our city. Dunn Twiggar saw potential in the site before the NIZ was in place and sought to effectively add to the city’s assets. Jaindl Properties, as fourth and fifth generation Allentown residents, have performed a number of historic redevelopments around the city already, and were able to introduce their own ideas into the mix. With Dunn Twiggar’s original concept, and Jaindl Properties’ supplemental vision, the choice was simple.
The river is one of Allentown’s hidden gems, and it has been out of touch for far too long. We knew it was time we reintroduce this valuable asset to residents of the Valley and beyond.
You don’t have to name names, but please let us know if we can expect any major announcements of possible tenants in the near future?
Our marketing and brokerage team is working hard to make that announcement happen: we can say that we have had a number of tenants interested and are in discussions right now. We look forward to answering that question in greater detail soon.
How do you see The Waterfront co-existing with CityCenter, the PPL Center and other downtown Allentown development initiatives?
The Waterfront is just one gear in a giant mechanism that is the revitalization of Allentown: with every development occurring, large or small, we are seeing a difference in our city and we are proud to be part of such an incredible redevelopment. City Center is doing some amazing work with mixed-use development around the urban core; PPL Center will offer a new destination to draw in added foot traffic and tourism dollars; the Butz family, who had faith in Allentown years ago with the construction of their headquarters on 9th and Hamilton, are continuing to expand their corporate center in the heart of the city. Down on the river we are developing a dramatically underutilized 26-acre parcel as an urban gateway to the city while Ruckus Brewery is bringing Neuweiller Brewery back to life. Individually they are great projects; together they are extraordinary.
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