A Bethlehem icon removed from skyline

The iconic corporate office skyscraper is no more for Bethlehem.

At 7 a.m., today, a Maryland-based demolition company imploded the building, which crumbled to the ground in seconds.

Watch: Martin Tower implosion

Once the corporate headquarters of the now defunct Bethlehem Steel Corp., the 21-story Martin Tower has sat vacant since 2007, becoming a white elephant among some local officials. The large dormant structure prompted the city and some developers to put forth plans to redevelop the site, which opened in 1972.

One of those plans, under Ashley Development, involved keeping the tower and creating a residential development but it was a plan that eventually got shelved.

Lou Ronca and Norton Herrick, the owners and developers of the property, have spent the past two years demolishing other vacant buildings surrounding the 53-acre site and removing asbestos from the tower.

In the meantime, Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. had tried attracting companies to occupy the site.

LVEDC had taken project after project to developers in the hopes of getting an office user in the tower, Don Cunningham, president and CEO of LVEDC previously stated. However, it’s not the type of office space people are looking for, particularly when downtown Allentown has been seeing new Class-A office space going up.

Duane Wagner of HRP Management Inc., representing the property owners and developers, said the building had been completely stripped on the inside prior to implosion, with all the asbestos removed.

Controlled Demolition Inc., the company handling the implosion, has demolished about 8,000 structures worldwide and has a long history of demolition.

Wagner said his company is working with an independent engineering group to monitor air quality after the implosion. He plans to make the results available to the state Department of Environmental Protection.


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.

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