2023 Year in Review

As 2023 comes to a close, the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority (ANIZDA) celebrates all that was accomplished through collaborative efforts with public and private sector partners and looks forward to the additional investment in the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) that lies ahead.

During 2023, City Center Investment Corp completed The Gallery, the developer’s latest amenity rich downtown apartment building. The 6-story, 107-unit building includes street-level retail and a rooftop lounge. With the addition of this new Hamilton Street building, the total number of apartment units developed through the NIZ program reached 1287.

City Center Investment Corporation also completed repurposing the former headquarters of The Morning Call on North Sixth Street in 2023. The vacated offices of the newspaper publisher have been completely transformed into a one-of-a-kind center offering a broad range of early childhood education, health, and social services to local children and families in need. Non-profit tenants Community Services for Children and Valley Health Partners anchor the 80,000 square foot building.

Elsewhere in the Neighborhood Improvement Zone, The Waterfront Development Company celebrated the grand opening of 615 Waterfront Drive on the banks of the Lehigh River. The first of twelve structures planned for The Waterfront by the developer, the new 120,000 square foot class A office building offers spectacular river views. With the completion of this building, a total of approximately 1.3 million square feet of office space has been developed through the NIZ program since inception.

Even with the addition of new office product in the NIZ, occupancy remained strong throughout 2023. Perhaps there was no greater vote of confidence than the decision of PPL Corporation to relocate its headquarters to Two City Center reaffirming its commitment to Allentown with a long-term lease for 128,000 square feet of office space.

PPL Center, home of Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey, continues to serve as a downtown anchor and catalyst for economic activity as it hosted numerous shows, concerts, and events bringing thousands of visitors downtown. For example, the 2023 NCAA Men’s Division 1 Ice Hockey Allentown Regionals held at the arena in March 2023 generated more than $4.37 million for the local economy, according to analysis from Discover Lehigh Valley. This year’s NCAA Regionals sold 15,422 tickets, including 76.5 percent to residents outside of the Lehigh Valley.

ANIZDA continued to make investments in public spaces and streetscapes during 2023 through its Public Improvement Investment Program including the redesigned Allentown Transportation Center, winner of the Urban Land Institute of Philadelphia’s 2023 Award for Excellence in the Open Space category. The innovative transit plaza on Church Street was developed through a partnership among the Allentown Parking Authority, LANTA, and the City of Allentown.

As year-end approached, the Authority issued $25,935,000 in tax revenue bonds to fund a portion of the cost of the Neuweiler Lofts project to be developed by Urban Residential Properties on a former brewery site vacant since the 1960’s. The mixed-use development will consist of 282 apartment units and approximately 40,000 square feet of commercial space.

The business of the Authority was conducted in twelve public board and committee meetings during 2023.

Looking ahead to 2024, several exciting projects currently under construction will be completed including the DaVinci Science Center, Archer Music Hall, and Moxy Hotel further solidifying downtown Allentown’s position as a vibrant, walkable, mixed-use destination.