A mixed use project could bring apartments to Bethlehem's South Side if it gains final approval.
The $4 million, 25,000-square-foot project would be seven stories and include apartments on the upper floors and restaurant/retail space below on Fourth and Vine streets.
"It would target a younger demographic," said Dennis Benner, developer for the project. "It's right next door to Lehigh University. To acquire property is difficult in South Bethlehem."
The site has sparked interest from commercial tenants, though he declined to name any.
"I've had a lot of calls from a lot of people," Benner said.
The project is in the City Revitalization and Improvement Zone, which offers tax incentives to developers.
Benner said he earned a certificate of appropriateness from City Council on Tuesday which allows him to demolish the existing vacant building, a structure condemned by the city. However, he needs land development approval and also to bring the project to the planning commission for final approval. Only then can demolition and construction can take place.
Alicia Miller Karner, director of the city's department of community and economic development, confirmed that the Fourth and Vine street building was condemned by the city last year.
The city's historic review boards give the certificate of appropriateness designations to these projects. These approvals are the first step in a multistep approval process, she added.