Allentown’s future hockey arena complex earned a 2013 Commonwealth Award from 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, a state organization that advocates for responsible land use. Mayor Ed Pawlowski accepted the award June 19 at a ceremony at the Crowne Plaza in Harrisburg.
The awards recognize the impact of "smart growth" projects across the state and the people who make them happen. Specifically, the arena complex received the "Building a Better Community Award."
The downtown complex, scheduled for completion in fall 2014, will feature the PPL Center arena, a high-rise office building called One City Center, full-service hotel, retail and restaurant space and parking.
"I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the city," Pawlowski said in a press release. "The arena complex is a collaboration between government and business interests. The Neighborhood Improvement Zone [a tax incentive program] is bringing unprecedented amount of development to our city and making Allentown a model for redevelopment for cities to emulate."
Projects are selected based on their economic impact and potential spinoff from redevelopment, said Jack Machek, president and CEO of 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania.
"Innovative finance tools such as that [NIZ] are going to be crucial to making projects such as these happen."
The organization selected 13 winners from around the state.