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Catasauqua seeks proposals for developing, acquiring Iron Works site

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Catasauqua is seeking proposals from firms looking to buy and develop the Iron Works site. The project could include an open air plaza, residential units, apartments or townhouses and about 30,000 square feet of retail or commercial space. (Borough of Catasauqua website)
Catasauqua is seeking proposals from firms looking to buy and develop the Iron Works site. The project could include an open air plaza, residential units, apartments or townhouses and about 30,000 square feet of retail or commercial space. (Borough of Catasauqua website)

Catasauqua is inviting developers to submit proposals for development and acquisition of Iron Works, a long dormant 10.6-acre property in the borough.

The site of a former factory between the Pine Street Bridge and Willow Street abuts the Lehigh Canal and the Delaware & Lehigh River Trail and could offer prime space for an economic boost for the small borough, considering the property’s central Lehigh Valley location and walkable amenities.

The last occupant of the site was FLSmidth, an engineering company that moved to Allentown in 2006. Now, Catasauqua officials are focused on attracting developers for what would be a massive mixed-use project.

On Aug. 25, the borough released the request for proposals for the acquisition and mixed-use development of the property.

The project could include an open air plaza, residential units, apartments or townhouses and about 30,000 square feet of retail or commercial space. The retail could include boutique shops and restaurants.

The borough recently completed construction of a 38,000-square-foot municipal building adjacent to the site and is seeking firms interested in developing the rest of the property. According to its website, the borough also developed a conceptual master plan for the property in partnership with local firms Spillman Farmer Architects, Taggart Associates, T&M Associates and Veraxia Commercial Real Estate Solutions.

The borough changed its zoning ordinance to create a new waterfront zoning district aimed at promoting a flexible, mixed-use development. The borough also prepped the site by demolishing some of the old buildings, converting the adjacent Front Street to two-way traffic and extending Bridge Street into the property.

At 90 Bridge St. on 10 a.m. Sept. 19, the borough is hosting a pre-proposal meeting and site tour for developers. Proposals are due by Nov. 30. The borough wants to have a preferred developer in place by early 2018.

Chad Helmer, who is serving as the borough's project management consultant from Taggart Associates in Bethlehem, said he was hopeful a developer would choose to redevelop the property similar to what the borough created in its master plan.

"Some of that is mix of use," Helmer said. "They anticipate that there will be some residential component, but they are also hoping there will be some commercial development on the property that will bring jobs."

The property is located primarily on Front Street, so in developing the plan, the borough is cognizant of having much of the redevelopment mesh well with the existing businesses, Helmer said. The property has been sitting underutilized for some time, he added.

Information about the master plan is available at www.catasauqua.org/iron-works.

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Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it.

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