South Bethlehem Historic Board Approves 9-Story Building After Previously Panning It

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After voicing strong opposition last month to a proposed 9-story building on West Fourth Street, the South Bethlehem Historic Conservation District voted 5-2 Monday to support the building’s design.

District board Chairwoman Beth Starbuck said she had been very troubled by the building’s height until she realized Hotel Bethlehem also was nine stories and doesn’t stick out badly on Main Street.

“I’m not happy with the scale of this, either, but I’m less freaked out about it — it just never occurred to me that the Hotel Bethlehem is that tall,” she said.

The board makes recommendations to Bethlehem City Council, and board Historic Officer Christine Ussler said there’s a fear if the board is often overruled by council “this developer and other developers will get the sense we don’t count.”

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Pennsylvania’s Stagnant 2013 Growth Has Political Repercussions

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania’‍s economy stalled last year, according to a report from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Pennsylvania’‍s real gross domestic product, an indicator of general economic conditions, grew just 0.7 percent in 2013. Only three states and Washington, D.C., saw slower growth.

Pennsylvania was also out-performed by its neighbors, West Virginia and Ohio, which saw 5.1 and 1.8 percent growth respectively. West Virginia has now outgrown Pennsylvania for six straight years, and Ohio has for two. Even struggling New Jersey beat out the Keystone State, posting 1.1 percent growth.

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Developers Plan $30 Million Makeover Along Second Avenue In Hazelwood

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A largely vacant stretch of Second Avenue in Hazelwood would be filled with music, youth programming, and commercial and residential space as part of a proposed makeover designed to complement the $1 billion former LTV coke works redevelopment.

Under the plan, the vacant Spahr Building, which was a former G. C. Murphy’s store, would be transformed into programming and performance space for Hazelwood’s faith-based Center of Life organization.

ACTION-Housing Inc. and Washington, D.C.-based Telesis Corp. are partnering on the proposed redevelopment, which also would include an additional 1.5 acres of vacant land or structures besides the Spahr Building, all in the 4800 block of Second Avenue.

City Urban Redevelopment Authority board members are expected to vote Thursday on whether to begin up to 18 months of exclusive negotiations with ACTION-Housing and Telesis for the sale of the properties needed for the projects.

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Downtown Pittsburgh Building Boom Shows No Signs Of Letting Up

Pittsburgh Downtown at Night

Pittsburgh Downtown at Night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The development boom in the city center is showing no signs of abating.

Whether it’s in urban living, where three-quarters of the residents are relative newcomers, or light-rail transit usage, which saw an increase last year thanks to the new North Shore Connector, or reports of yet another hotel in the works, Downtown’s fortunes continue to be on the rise.

At least that appears to be the case based on a new Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership report measuring economic activity in and around the Golden Triangle last year.  The “State of Downtown Pittsburgh 2013” details a number of encouraging trends, from the widely reported bump in residential and office space demand to an increase in the number of building permits issued for improvements last year.

Overall, the partnership counted 60 projects totaling more than $2.2 billion that have been announced or are under construction in the city’s core and fringes, including the 33-story, $400 million Tower at PNC Plaza on Wood Street, which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2015.

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Lancaster City Redevelopment Authority Votes To Become Equity Investor In $4.8 Million Apartment Project

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Until recently, when real estate developers wanted an extra financial push to make a city redevelopment project viable, they turned to state officials.

But grant funding through the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development has all but dried up, and competition for the remaining funds is fierce.

On Tuesday, the Lancaster City Redevelopment Authority agreed to step into the gap to make a project happen.

Authority board members voted to become equity investors in a $4.8 million apartment construction project.

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Roy’s Rants Launches New Blog

As of this morning, we have created and launched a new economic development and revitalization blog called Progress Pennsylvania.  The blog will be solely focused on promoting economic development efforts from around the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Seventy-four of our revitalization posts from Roy’s Rants were copied and transferred to Progress Pennsylvania as well as remaining here on Roy’s Rants.  It seemed only proper that this body of work should have its own home going forward.

Thanks for your support and we look forward to continue delivering news and information with no-nonsense!

You can click on the link below or click on the link to the right of your screen under Economic Development!