If at first you don’t succeed, try again. And again. And again.
For the fourth time since 1999, developers presented plans to the Allentown Planning Commission on Tuesday to build apartments along Lehigh Parkway East in Allentown.
Dubbed Apartments in the Parkway, the plan this time calls for two five-story buildings with 160 luxury units and 243 parking spaces. The buildings would be built parallel to Lehigh Parkway East, west of Regency Towers and near the intersection with Lehigh Parkway North. Consultants said the apartments would be geared toward millennials.
That plan is significantly scaled back from the last proposal for the site, which called for two 12-story buildings housing 170 apartment units. City planners last discussed that proposal in 2013.
Before that, developers originally planned a 17-story office tower for the undeveloped site, and later scaled back the proposal to a six-story office and retail complex in 2002.
Jeffrey Ott, president of Ott Consulting, said Tuesday that market conditions prevented each of the previous plans from coming to fruition. Only one of the original partners in the development, Jeff Trainer, the co-owner of the Sands Bethlehem Event Center, is still involved with the project, he said.
Consultants for the project benefited Tuesday from all of the previous discussion about the site. An issue raised in 2013 about drainage on the property has been settled, and plans already have been prepared to create a T-intersection at Lehigh Parkway East and Lehigh Parkway North.
Commissioners questioned whether the parking lot had aisles wide enough to accommodate fire trucks in case of emergency, but were assured that the Allentown Fire Department had reviewed the plan.
The board voted unanimously to approve the preliminary and final plans for the site. Commissioner Damien Brown was absent.
Ott said the developer hopes to break ground by the end of the year.
Written by Emily Opilo; originally published in The Morning Call.< Return to Noteworthy