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Allentown could see new office tower

The somewhat modest skyline of Allentown, Pennsylvania, is poised to receive a major addition, at least, if one developer gets his way. The man has proposed a 33-story office tower in Allentown, something that he has dreamed of for decades. In fact, he originally hatched the plan all the way back in 1985. Now, it might finally come to fruition after he tabled the idea for some time.

That dream will only become a reality if the appropriate zoning boards approve the mammoth project.

The proposed structure, dubbed the Landmark Tower, would be located at North Ninth and West Walnut streets. It would also stand as the tallest building in Lehigh Valley. The developer recently acquired the land when the Allentown Parking Authority put it up for sale. The land is located right next to one of the authority's parking structures.

The land is advantageous to the developer because it is located in an area of the city known as the Neighborhood Improvement Zone. By developing land in that area, the city would sink all nonproperty taxes into the development project. Meanwhile, the developer is working on scraping up the money to fund the $60 million project.

The chairman of the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority said that he was pleased that there is interest in further developing the downtown area of Allentown. However, he said that he did not receive a formal proposal from the developer about the project.

The tower would be just the latest addition to Allentown. An arena is already in the works, located not far from the proposed site for the tower. The facility will seat 8,500 people and will be home to local hockey team Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Developing land in any city is no easy task. It is a long process that must be approved by a number of zoning boards and government authorities. Developers must be ready to cut through plenty of legal red tape.

Source: LehighValleyLive.com, "Allentown high-rise developer says there's room in real estate market," Gregg Bortz, March 29, 2013

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