Sometimes the saying “nothing good ever comes easy” could be amended to add “… or quickly!” That has certainly been the case for the redevelopment of the former Neuweiler Brewery property at N. Front and Gordon Streets in Allentown that has sat largely abandoned for over 50 years. But the “good” that is now planned for the vacant site will soon start to be evident as it begins the first phase of its transformation.

In March, Brewers Hill Development Group owners Josh Wood and Alex Friedman completed their initial financing and made payments as required by their agreements with Allentown Economic Development Corporation. The $1.7 million, 4.25-acre property, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, includes two buildings that are on tap to be redeveloped first.

The 48,000 sq. ft. Bottling House, referred to as Building J, has three floors that are about 12,500 sq. ft. each. Two of those floors are earmarked for Wood and Freidman’s New York City-based marketing and technology firm Ruckus Marketing. A year ago it opened a downtown Allentown office in the Trifecta Building on Hamilton Street where the marketing agency employs eight people. Coincidentally, the Trifecta Building happens to be one of ADEC’s redevelopment projects, which was completed in 2014.

“Self-occupancy of a building by a developer reflects a high level of commitment to making the project succeed,” explained Scott Unger, Executive Director of AEDC. “I salute Josh and Alex for taking on a challenging project and seeing it through the delays and revisions over the past several years. People wonder why these types of large projects take so long to get started and completed, and that’s because they are extremely complex projects. They’ve gone above and beyond financial investment in the project; they are fully committed to bringing their vision to fruition. I appreciate their dedication and look forward to seeing what they create and how it improves our city.”

AEDC’s history with the site goes back to the start of the previous decade, when it worked to bring what were then two separately owned sites under one ownership. From 2011 to 2012 it performed more than $500,000 of environmental remediation work to prepare the site for redevelopment which made it more desirable to developers. It then issued a request for proposals for development of the site in 2012 during which BHDG was selected as the chosen developer.

“Ruckus has been expanding significantly over the last few years as a company, and we’re excited to get our project in Allentown off the ground this year. We expect to begin work on Building J by late summer or early fall. Pretty much as soon as we can get started, we want to get to work,” said Wood.

On its own floors his agency will build a sound studio, photo shoot area, and creative space as well as Ruckus offices. While their 35-employee NYC office won’t be relocating to Allentown, Wood does envision growing his Allentown-based staff out of this new space in the years to come. The third floor will be rented as commercial office space.

“We are excited to be a part of the continued transformation of Allentown,” said Phil Osborne, Vice President of Production for Ruckus Marketing. “The vision for the campus is evolving, but it certainly will offer the region a level of creative expression that has not been experienced. Our team is thrilled to be a part of this, as filmmakers, having our own space to produce compelling content will add value to our clients and to the region as a whole.”

Building H, the 6,500 sq. ft., two-story former storage building will be the second building on the property to be renovated. It will become a brewery for the six beer brands that BHDG owns. Some of those brews are currently being made under contract by a brewery in Reading that is a former Ruckus Marketing client.

“Our original plans for the site included a brewery with brew pub,” Wood explained. “But that was five years ago and the craft beer market has changed significantly in that time and really exploded. So we are evaluating if the brew pub is still a viable concept for the location, and if so, when is the best time to develop it. In the meantime, the brewery will move forward. Floor plans have already been developed and once a few zoning issues are sorted out, we will move forward with it.”

BHDG has already been busy at the site over the past two years removing junk from the buildings, power-washing the interiors, installing temporary lighting, and cleaning out overgrowth around the property.

The redevelopment of the iconic six-story brew house remains a future phase of the project once the first two buildings being redeveloped are completed. That building could include additional commercial space and even retail spaces.

Wood is also excited about the prospect of having the last living Neuweiler direct relative, Louise Neuweiler, return to the area for a visit. She grew up next door to the brewery and has already provided him with a good amount of brewery memorabilia to display. He’d like to record her living history of the famed brewery that was built between 1911 and 1913, closed in 1968.