A local economic development organization will use a $2 million state loan to help rejuvenate a long-dormant industrial site in Allentown.
The funding is part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s $152 million investment package to be made across the state for business development and infrastructure projects. According to a news release, the state will issue the Business in Our Sites Loan to the Allentown Commercial and Industrial Development Authority to help with the redevelopment of the former Allentown Metal Works site.
ACIDA, in partnership with the Allentown Economic Development Corp. as the developer, will use the money to continue preparing the site for industrial use and making it attractive for a manufacturer or developer.
“The primary purpose of this loan is to do selective demolition on four buildings that don’t have the capacity for future manufacturing here,” said Scott Unger, executive director of the ACIDA and the AEDC.
The demolition will improve site access, distribution and marketability for the three larger manufacturing buildings on-site which have potential to attract users. Additionally, the organization will use the funds to finance the renovation of one of those buildings to bring it up to modern manufacturing standards.
“We don’t know who the tenant or occupant would be,” Unger said. “We are champions of manufacturing in general, especially urban. Some of the buildings have very large ceilings. We aren’t particularly set on one type or style of manufacturing.”
The organization has been looking to rejuvenate the site for several years and bought the former Allentown Metal Works site in 2013. With most industrial sites in the city spanning about two acres, this one covers more than 17 acres and has potential for attracting a company that employs a large number of people. The organization also has the ability to restore rail service on-site, if needed.
“The overall goal is to assist the private sector in creating jobs,” Unger said. “It’s going to take several phases but the potential for job creation is very significant.”