Hope remains for Lower Macungie Whole Foods proposal

By - Last modified: January 29, 2014 at 11:31 AM

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There is still hope for a Whole Foods Market in the Lehigh Valley, thanks to the perseverance of the developers of a proposed 64-acre Hamilton Crossings shopping center in Lower Macungie Township, which could create 920 jobs.

Goldenberg Group, based in Blue Bell, has been battling with Lehigh County board of commissioners since last summer to obtain a tax increment financing plan to help fund the $140 million Hamilton Crossings complex in Lower Macungie.

The proposed site is off Krocks Road, between Route 222 and Hamilton Boulevard, and would include a Whole Foods Market, Costco and Target.

The developers and the county executive have scheduled a public meeting for Feb. 3 at Muhlenberg College in Allentown in a project presentation to the community.

"We have provided additional information and answered questions for the commissioners," said Jeremy Fogel, executive vice president of Goldenberg Group. "We need the TIF to make the project work."

The tax increment financing plan would allow Goldenberg to divert a portion of the new tax revenue on its property over the next 20 years to help with construction costs of the project, with the remainder of the new tax revenue going to Lehigh County, Lower Macungie Township and East Penn School District.

Lehigh County commissioners opted out of the TIF plan last summer, but according to Fogel, East Penn School district has opted in and he is optimistic that Lower Macungie Township will, as well.

Monday night's meeting was put together by Lehigh County executive Tom Muller, who worked with the developers to give the public an opportunity to see what the project has to offer to the community.

"The Lehigh County executive and the administration support this project whole-heartedly," said Frank Kane, director of community and economic development for Lehigh County. "We are just waiting on the approval of the board of [county] commissioners."

According to Fogel, if Lehigh County commissioners and Lower Macungie opt in on the TIF plan, construction on the project could begin by summer.

"This would be a great project to bring jobs and bring a Costco, which people want," Kane said.

The public meeting is 6 p.m. Feb. 3 at Muhlenberg's Moyer Hall, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

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Jennifer Glose

Jennifer Glose

Reporter Jennifer Glose covers health care, Berks County and other topics. She can be reached at jenniferg@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 111. Follow her on Twitter @jenniferg_LVB and read her blog, “Networking,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/networking-blog.

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