172 new apartments up for review

Latest in a series of posts on development

Apartments aplenty! “Affordable” is the question these days.

The first two projects will be familiar to us.

This is the first Gadfly has heard of 404 E. 3rd — across Polk east of Molinari’s, catacorner to Charter Arts.

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selections from Christina Tatu, “Bethlehem planners to review projects that would bring 172 apartments to the city.” Morning Call, April 5, 2021.

The Bethlehem Planning Commission on Thursday 5PM will review site plans for three major projects that, if approved, would bring a total of 172 new apartment units and new retail space to the city.

Skyline West: 143 W. Broad St., a 50-unit apartment project.

The project is proposed by Musikfest founder Jeff Parks and attorneys Dennis, Garrett and Brandon Benner.

Dennis Benner on Monday said he’s already received 30 or 40 inquires about the project, even though construction has yet to start. He believes it is because Skyline West will bring residents within walking distance of the historic downtown.

“I think it’s because of its proximity to the urban core and North Side of downtown Bethlehem. This will be fabulous for the merchants on Main Street,” Benner said.

The project will be five stories set into the hillside. It would also include a 68-space parking deck below the building and amenities such as a courtyard, outdoor deck and gym for residents. Even though plans are being presented Thursday, the project will still need additional zoning and planning approvals, Benner said.

250 E. Broad St.: This project, which would lease space to the Bethlehem Food Co-op, calls for demolishing an existing one-story building and constructing a new, four-story building with the co-op’s full-service grocery store on the first floor and 42 residential units above.

The project is being proposed by Michael Perrucci’s Peron Development. Peron is partnering with Boyle construction on the project.

The Bethlehem Food Co-op had been looking for a space for a community-owned grocery store for 10 years when they announced the new location last month. The store is expected to open some time in 2022.

It will be 6,500 square feet with 4,500 square feet dedicated to retail.

A capital campaign will launch in the spring to raise $1.7 million to build and outfit the store. The funds will be raised from donations, member loans, bank loans and grants. Each of the nine members of the co-op’s board of directors also has signed a “leadership commitment” to financially support the new store.

It will be open to all shoppers. Plans include soliciting local vendors to supply produce and products, as well as the inclusion of bulk bins, a community kitchen, community meeting room, small area for outdoor dining, a bike rack and off-street parking.

404 E. 3rd. St.: Developer Lou Pektor, under Mechanic Street Development Associates LP, is proposing to turn an empty parking lot at the site into a seven-story mixed-use building with first and second floor retail and 80 dwelling units above.

Pektor is looking to “cultivate the perfect combination of captivating retail users and premier residential units,” said a Monday afternoon news release from the developer. “This blend of two commercial/retail floors and 80 dwelling units will be the highest and best possible use for the location.”

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