Spirit of Regionalism Highlighted at Lehigh Valley Real Estate Outlook

By Colin McEvoy on April 14, 2022

More than 600 people attended the 2022 Lehigh Valley Real Estate Outlook hosted by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The spirit of regionalism that has long fueled economic development in the Lehigh Valley was on display during the 2022 Lehigh Valley Real Estate Development Outlook, hosted April 14 by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

More than 600 real estate developers, engineering and maintenance firm representatives, and executives attended the event, where speaker after speaker affirmed that the emphasis on collaboration and regionalism in the community has been key to the Lehigh Valley’s continued success, even during the COVID-19 crisis.

“As I always say, LVEDC is a coalition of the willing; an incredible private and public partnership that just always seems to get strengthened,” said Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation. “All the good news you’re about to hear today is a testament to what all of you do.”

LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham speaking at the 2022 Lehigh Valley Real Estate Outlook.

LVEDC was a presenting sponsor for the event, which was held at The Delta Hotel by Marriott Allentown/Lehigh Valley in Upper Macungie Township.

“We felt it’s time to tell this community the great things that are happening in the Lehigh Valley,” said Chamber President & CEO Tony Iannelli. “I don’t know about you but I think you’ll agree with me: we have had an amazing run in this Valley.”

Since February 2021, more than 19,000 jobs have been added in the Lehigh Valley, making it the leading region in Pennsylvania for recovery from COVID-19 job losses, Cunningham said. The state has recovered 83% of its jobs since the pandemic and the United States has recovered 90%, while the Lehigh Valley has recovered 99.9%, he said.

Cunningham discussed the Lehigh Valley’s $42.9 billion gross domestic product, its particularly strong population growth among 18- to 34-year-olds, and the fact that the region’s manufacturing output has made it a Top 50 manufacturing market in the United States.

“The importance of Lehigh Valley’s premier role as a manufacturer, a producer, and a distributor of goods became clearer during the pandemic, as many of the region’s 700+ manufacturers produced food, drinks, medical equipment, and supplies that sustained our part of the nation during the crisis,” Cunningham said.

Becky Bradley, Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, provided an overview of real estate development and activity.

“As the second year of the pandemic came to an end, the number of subdivision and land development plans reviewed continued an upward trend, with almost 500 plans reviewed in 2021 alone,” Bradley said. “That’s the highest since 2009.”

In the first quarter of 2022 alone, the planning commission reviewed 143 new subdivision and land development plans, 49 stormwater management plans, and 13 municipal ordinance changes spanning 1,300 acres in Northampton County and 580 acres in Lehigh County.

Iannelli also filmed a live broadcast of the WFMZ program Business Matters featuring a panel discussion with Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr., Bethlehem Mayor J. William Reynolds, and Allentown Mayor Matthew Tuerk. All three mayors stressed the importance of a regional approach to economic development.

“The future of the Lehigh Valley is going to come down not just to the three of us, but the people in this room and outside in our community working together and understanding our problems and solutions are really region-wide,” Reynolds said.

The Business Matters episode will air on WFMZ on April 25 at 7:30 p.m. Iannelli and all three mayors serve on the LVEDC Board of Directors.

The Chamber presented its 2022 Labor Achievement Award to Paul Anthony, Business Manager with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 735, and a member of the LVEDC Board of Directors.

It also presented its 2022 Lehigh Valley Community Investment Award to Air Products in recognition of its decision to establish the company’s new $400 million corporate headquarters in Upper Macungie Township, continuing the Fortune 500 company’s long-standing commitment to the Lehigh Valley.

“Staying in the Lehigh Valley was an easy decision,” said Laura Hackett, Director of Philanthropy and Community Relations at Air Products. “We were founded here, we have 2,000 of our finest employees working here, and the Lehigh Valley is their community.”

Don Cunningham: As I Get Older, the Lehigh Valley Gets Younger

This column, written by LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham, originally appeared in The Morning Call and on the newspaper's website on April 8, 2022. (Click here to read [...]

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