Progress is moving ahead on a six-story mixed-use building under construction in South Bethlehem, one that could serve as a pivotal hub of business and community growth for the city.
Gateway at Greenway Park, an office building with retail space on the ground floor, sits at the base of the Fahy Bridge on the corner of Third and New streets, signaling a change in the commercial real estate landscape of the city.
With its wide glass windows and sleek, angular design, the project posits a renewed, more modern look for commercial buildings in the South Side, possibly signaling a sign of future development.
The $20-million, 127,832-square-foot building will include retail space on the first floor and office space on the second through sixth floors. St. Luke’s University Health Network and Lehigh University will become the major office tenants of the Gateway building.
“We are rapidly coming to a conclusion here,” said Jim Eck, president of Quadratus Construction Management Inc. in Whitehall Township. “We are putting some of the last glass in the building.” His company is building the structure and should have Lehigh University staff moved into its space in February, followed by construction for the floor that St. Luke’s will occupy.
St. Luke’s will have a mixed-use floor of clinical, teaching and administrative space.
Howard Kulp Architects of Allentown is the architect.
The ground floor spaces are still in the design phase, Eck said.
“By fall, the rest of the tenants should be in the building,” he said.
CBRE Inc., the real estate firm marketing the property, did not announce any other tenants for the building.
Aside from the bitter cold weather, the construction process has been going well, Eck said. He has about 100 to 120 workers on-site every day.
Boyle Construction of South Whitehall Township recently completed the adjacent parking garage, owned by the Bethlehem Parking Authority.
The Gateway project will incorporate a multiple-story glass walkway connecting to the garage, which has space for 600 vehicles.
That will be the next big part of the project, when workers begin installing steel that will connect the parking deck with the building, a width of 72 feet, Eck said.
The walkway will feature three glass-enclosed walkways connecting the two buildings, as well as a fourth level, he said.
The building is the first of several developments that Dennis Benner, a Bethlehem developer, is planning in this portion of the city. ION Development Group, which is owned and managed by Benner and his sons, attorneys Garrett and Brandon Benner, is the team behind the project.
The Gateway project is included in the City Revitalization and Improvement Zone.
Bethlehem’s special tax zone district allows certain state and local taxes generated by businesses in the zone to be used to repay debt service, in order to spur economic development projects in the zone.