Bethlehem approves 10 million to improve old Steel plant
Nov 17, 2012 (The Morning Call (Menafn - Allentown - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --The Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority approved this week a 10 million bond that will help pay for the next round of infrastructure projects for redeveloping Bethlehem Steel property.
The projects include hundreds of new paved parking spots and an elevated walkway on what was once known as the Hoover Mason Trestle. The century-old trestle was used by Steel to move fuel from the ore yard, where the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem sits, to the blast furnaces, which is now the backdrop for indoor and outdoor concerts at SteelStacks.
"We want to make sure the investment we make is both strategic and relevant enough that it will stimulate additional development on the site," said Tony Hanna, executive director of the Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority.
The project totals nearly 16 million worth of improvements and a second bond is expected to be taken out next year.
Among the projects on the list for the new bond is 1 million to pave over the gravel lot west of the ArtsQuest Center, 1.2 million of parking on E. Third Street, and 1.5 million on parking and infrastructure improvements near the old Steel General Office, Carpenters Shop and Cold Draw buildings.
The money to pay for the debt payments comes from the Tax Incremental Financing District, which covers 160 acres of former Steel land between the Minsi Trail and Fahy bridges. Real estate taxes derived from redevelopment there go toward paying off the bonds that the authority takes out for infrastructure improvements.
The idea is to create enough infrastructure to make the land attractive enough to entice developers to invest in the old Steel site.
The site is anchored by the Sands casino which features a hotel, mall and the Sands Event Center, plus the PBS39 studios, ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks and the Bethlehem Landing visitors center.
Hanna said the 16 million worth of projects will likely be the last before the so-called TIF district expires.
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