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Work begins on renovating historic Allentown building into events venue

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The staircase at Vault 634 in Allentown (Contributed)
The staircase at Vault 634 in Allentown (Contributed)
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By May 2018, brides are expected to have a new place in Allentown to host their wedding.

That’s the plan according to the owners of Vault 634, who hosted a ceremony Thursday to mark the start of $4.5 million in renovations to a historic Allentown building.

Serfass Construction of North Whitehall Township will transform the Lehigh Valley Trust Building at 634 Hamilton St. into Vault 634, a high-end wedding and events venue.

Zachary Jaindl and his father, Mark, are leading the project and looking to preserve the historical elements of the building while creating a Class A venue.

Construction should take about six months, said Zachary Jaindl, chief operating officer for Jaindl Enterprises. The project has been four years in the making but was set aside while Jaindl Enterprises focused on launching The Waterfront project along the Lehigh River.

Now, they are turning their attention to this project and unveiled new renderings of plans for the 17,000-square-foot building.

“While the building has sat vacant for decades, the foundation of this building is truly stunning,” Jaindl said. “A lot of the historical integrity will absolutely be maintained.”

Howard Kulp Architects of Allentown is the architect.

All of the crown molding will be repainted and two original Hess’s Department Store chandeliers will remain. The large stained glass skylight will be adjusted to let in 100 percent light. Now, it only lets in about 10 percent of the light, Jaindl said.

Other restoration efforts will retain some elements while adding new ones. One vault will be used as a showcase while another will be fit out to become a signature “vault bar.”

Also, workers will add a speakeasy lounge to the basement and build a full kitchen for caterers to the rear of the site. Workers will build a 2,000 square-foot-addition and add an elevator tower and secondary entrance along the Seventh Street corridor.

Jaindl said Karen Hunter Catering is the venue’s preferred caterer.

Vault 634 will use its Hamilton Street program to help promote downtown businesses. The goal is to encourage guests who go to the venue to patronize local businesses.

“The Lehigh Valley Trust Building is a foundation to the greatness of our city,” Jaindl said. “Over time, it may have been overlooked. This building will once again shine and be a center of activity.”

Projects such as these attract people to the downtown and help drive further investment, said Steven Bamford, executive director of the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority.

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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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