Business in Our Sites Loan to be used for selective demolition and building renovation

Allentown, Pa. — On Friday, July 1, Governor Wolf announced over of $152 million in investments to be made across Pennsylvania for business development and infrastructure projects. Included in this pool of investments is a $2 million Business in Our Sites Loan to be made to the Allentown Commercial and Industrial Development Authority to assist with the redevelopment of the former Allentown Metal Works site. ACIDA, in partnership with the Allentown Economic Development Corporation as the developer, will use the funds to continue to prepare the site for industrial use.

“This is terrific news for the Allentown Metal Works project,” explained Scott Unger, executive director of both ACIDA and AEDC. “With this funding from the Commonwealth, significant progress can be made towards getting this site to a development-ready state for an interested manufacturer or developer.”

The Business in Our Sites Loan Program empowers communities to attract growing and expanding businesses by helping them build an inventory of ready sites. The loan funds can be used for all site development activities that are required to make a site shovel ready. The State considers this a “patient” loan in that no repayment is required until the property is sold or leased, or for five years from the date of closing.

Eligible sites must be a previously utilized or undeveloped property that is planned and zoned for development and there must be a substantial likelihood that use of the site, following development, is not for primary residential or recreational purposes.

“The beauty of this loan program is that it falls right in line with the mission of AEDC,” said Unger. “Our goal is to turn factories back into factories so that business can grow or relocate to Allentown, thereby creating living-wage jobs.”

The funds from the Business in Our Sites Loan will be used to finance the total demolition of four ancillary buildings, which will improve site access, circulation, and marketability for the three larger manufacturing building on the site. Additionally, the funds will finance the renovation of either Building A or Building G. These renovations will reflect those of a modern manufacturing facility.

State Representative Peter Schweyer, having provided a letter of support for the loan application, has been an advocate and strong supporter of this project since its inception.

“The Allentown Economic Development Corp. continues to be a vital partner in bringing quality jobs to Allentown,” said Rep. Schweyer. “The Allentown Metal Works site is a fantastic project that will allow the city to be part of the evolution of the manufacturing industry. I am glad to see that the Commonwealth agrees and has awarded the funding for this project to move forward.”

As previously announced, AEDC and the City of Allentown jointly applied for and were awarded $400,000 in supplemental funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct the second phase of remediation at the site. Planned work to be done in Phase II includes the encapsulation of lead-based paint on the steel beams located in Building B; asbestos abatement within Building B, Building 1, and Building 2; and the filling of open sumps and pits located in Buildings B and C.

Unger explained that manufacturers who are looking to locate their businesses in Allentown typically are trying to identify sites that can be occupied within one to two quarters. A site like Allentown Metal Works is several quarters away from being ready to be occupied. By having AEDC do the environmental cleanup and early-stage redevelopment, the site can be brought into a much more attractive state for a developer or manufacturer.


About the Allentown Economic Development Corporation

The Allentown Economic Development Corporation is an independent nonprofit organization, in a private-public partnership with the City of Allentown, whose mission is to improve vacant and underutilized properties in order to create an environment where manufacturers and other companies can flourish throughout their lifecycle, from launch, to rapid growth, and onto long-term success and profitability. By doing so, AEDC is able to advance the economic vitality of Allentown and the Lehigh Valley through job creation and business growth.

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