A Legacy of Success
As the primary economic development agency for the City of Allentown, Allentown Economic Development Corporation has been on-point for almost every major development or redevelopment project in the city since its founding in 1979.
Working in conjunction with the Allentown Commercial and Industrial Development Authority, AEDC has helped shepherd through a variety of office, commercial and manufacturing redevelopment projects throughout the city. The bulk of our efforts have been on revitalizing the urban core and shoring up the of the City’s manufacturing, office and employment foundations.
Founded in 1979, AEDC took the lead in obtaining and utilizing the Urban Development Action Grants to finance a modern hotel at the corner of 9th and Hamilton streets at the center of Allentown’s nationally renowned retail district. Similar projects quickly followed, including the Sovereign Building, the former Corporate Plaza office building, and the Hamilton Financial building (now Lehigh County administrative offices) at Center Square in Center City.
In 1984 AEDC took steps to purchase the former Mack Trucks Plants 4 and 4A, a sprawling and dilapidated industrial complex just south of Center City. In 1989, Plant 4A was reopened as the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, a unique business incubator project dedicated to manufacturing startups and entrepreneurship.
Today the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center is home to a variety of rising startups, including ColdEdge Technologies, a leader in cryogenic refrigeration systems, Zero Truck, a manufacturer of “zero emission” fully electric medium duty trucks, and MTS Ventures, a design engineering and prototyping firm. The business incubator has helped launch more than 40 companies that have created nearly 300 jobs.
Over the past 15 years AEDC has worked to refurbish and lease the neighboring Bridgeworks Industrial Center, a 263,000-square-foot facility, which is now home to several thriving companies. Over the past decade the Bridgeworks Industrial Center has welcomed the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix; Gateway Industrial Services, a steel fabricator; and Terra Group, a manufacturer of portable water purification systems for the U.S. Armed Forces and other customers.
One of AEDC’s ongoing initiatives has been the redevelopment of the riverfront along the Lehigh River. In 2006, working with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, AEDC helped create the America on Wheels museum of over-the-road transportation on the site of the former Arbogast & Bastian meatpacking plant along the riverfront at Front and Hamilton streets.
In 2010 AEDC coordinated the construction of Bridgeworks by the Creek, a multi-unit manufacturing facility that is now home to Eastern Surfaces, which produces and sells granite and marble surfaces, and Penetron, a manufacturer of concrete and waterproofing systems.
Since 2012 AEDC has played a pivotal role in shepherding through the Center City revitalization work made possible by the Neighborhood Improvement Zone legislation, which redirects select tax revenues back to economic development investment in the urban core. Among the projects now under construction is a new AHL hockey arena that will be home to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the AHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers. While the arena and adjoining Marriot Renaissance hotel are the centerpieces of the resurgence, the project also includes several new office buildings that are bringing noteworthy companies such as National Penn Bank, Air Products and Lehigh Gas to the city.
AEDC is also playing an instrumental role in the redevelopment of the Lehigh Riverfront, including the remediation of the former historic Neuweiler Brewery property now under an agreement of sale to Ruckus Brewing Company.