Over the past several years Allentown Economic Development Corporation has invested in significant upgrades to its Bridgeworks Enterprise Center in South Allentown.

Bridgeworks Enterprise Center exterior – before

It started with a two-phase roof replacement project from 2013-2015 to make the building more energy efficient. It improved the heating and cooling efficiencies for the entire building, causing a 33 percent reduction in natural gas costs over two years. The roof replacement work was funded in part by a Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Grant, a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, loans, and AEDC’s own funds.

In 2015, the nonprofit organization won a 2014 Growth Accelerator Challenge from the U.S. Small Business Administration that allowed them to fully renovate the building’s Flex Launch & Coworking space. It included constructing 10 small office spaces for startups with two – four employees to use, as well as a shared coworking space for monthly users. A spacious kitchenette and dining area with lounge were also added, as was a conference room and two small “phone booths” for taking private calls.

Also inside Bridgeworks, the main hallway was freshened with new blade signs on the walls indicating the location of each business incubator company. The signs were designed to match the updated AEDC brand look.  AEDC also partnered with many of the new incubation clients entering the program to improve electrical and HVAC systems in many of the suites as they were occupied.

Bridgeworks Enterprise Center exterior – after

Once these upgrades were completed, it was time to focus on the aesthetics of the building. This summer and early fall, a beautification project was done by Quality Hardscaping to enhance the entryway to the building off the fenced-in parking lot. The tall arborvitaes that visually blocked the elevated entrance and ramp walkway were replaced with smaller bushes, mulch, greenspace, decorative rock ground cover, and a sitting bench. White paint was removed from the brick along the entire 600-foot-long façade facing Harrison Street, trim and soffits on the building were also painted to freshen the look. A welcome directional sign is also being added.

“These improvements make the building’s exterior and entrance more attractive and inviting while revealing some of the building’s original aesthetics,” said AEDC Executive Director Scott Unger.