Sunrise on the SouthSide (4): Commercial Vitality

(Latest in a series of posts about Lehigh University and the Southside)

Sunrise on the Southside

Chapter 2: Commercial Vitality

We continue to look at the Southside through Lehigh University’s promotional “Sunrise” video. Their project came to Gadfly’s attention just as we have been spending a lot of time on the Southside, a focus especially stimulated by the moving letter from the South Bethlehem Historical Society and the formation of Bethlehem Residents for Responsible Development.

Images of Domaci, Godfrey Daniels, Joe’s Barber Shop, Color Me Mine, Lit, Banana Factory, etc.

  • The Domaci owners aren’t alone in their belief in South Bethlehem. While there are still empty storefronts to be filled, the South Side in recent years has attracted numerous entrepreneurs who have staked their success on a neighborhood they believe to be on the rebound.
  • Peron Development opened Five10Flats, an apartment and retail building, in 2018 on Third Street between Fillmore and Buchanan streets, across from Northampton Community College. The six-story Gateway at Greenway Park building was developed at Third and New streets, offering offices and retail space, including the top-floor restaurant Zest with its panoramic views.
  • Lehigh is an anchor tenant in the Gateway building, along with St. Luke’s University Health Network. The university relocated about 145 employees there from several campus locations, including its controller’s office, real estate services and the development and alumni relations offices. Additional Lehigh staff work a few blocks away in the Flatiron Building on Broadway.
  • You could look at it as moving Lehigh’s staff off campus, or you could view it as blurring the borders between campus and the town,” says Lehigh President Simon. “If you go into a lot of urban universities, [the borders are] blurred, and there are some buildings that have a lot of university employees and some that have businesses, and yet the campus still has an identity. But both can coexist in a very productive way.”
  • “I love being a part of this community,” [Color Me Mine owner Tara Nagabhyru] says. “I saw so much potential here.”
  • Like other business owners, Nagabhyru praised the efforts of the SouthSide Arts District, which pumped up the events calendar in its efforts to attract people to South Bethlehem. Also, Nagabhyru says, people like longtime business owner John Saraceno, who owns the building across the street and operates Saraceno Designs on the second floor there, offered practical advice and extended support when she opened her doors.


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