Though it has taken longer than expected, developer Borko Milosev said his office building renovation project is entering the final stages.
He began the project in 2015, envisioning a modern-style mixed-use project for the 10-story office tower in Bethlehem that would incorporate upscale apartments, new commercial suites, a gym, cafeteria, restaurant and other features. While some of those elements have come to pass, he has altered some plans, added new amenities and is still in the process of having his crew finish construction in some areas. In May 2016, Lehigh Valley Business, a tenant in the building, moved to a new suite on the fourth floor.
Milosev, owner of Post Road Management, said he expects the entire project, estimated to cost about $11 million, to be fully complete in two months.
He even gave the building at 65 E. Elizabeth Ave. a new name, The Pinnacle at 65, and has started marketing the apartments, some of which are now staged on the upper floors. All told, the project will include 48 apartment units.
Apartments will cover floors five through 10.
So far, floors 10 and nine are complete and crews are finishing the eighth floor. He estimated it would take them a maximum of four weeks to finish each floor.
Milosev described the ninth and 10th floors, created by his interior designer Bibi Monnahan, as floors with a glam theme. He said Monnahan tore out the covers of Harper’s Bazaar magazine and placed them in frames that line the hallway of the 10th floor, with the idea of showcasing glamour icons through the decades.
The apartments offer expansive views of the different parts of Bethlehem, including nearby Moravian College, Liberty High School and neighborhoods to the north, east, south and west.
The apartments include two penthouses on the 10th floor. Monthly rents start at $1,440 for one-bedroom units and $2,100 for two-bedroom units. The “penthouse” three-bedroom units are $2,640, he said.
All units feature the open concept with a large kitchen that opens to the living room and dining area, with no walls separating different rooms. The kitchens all include quartz countertops and islands, slate-finish appliances, built-in wine coolers and dishwashers.
Various shades of gray and white are the overall color schemes used throughout the residential units, designed with a modern feel.
“We’re trying to differentiate ourselves from the pack,” Milosev said, during a tour of the units. “We just staged this unit last week. All the views are unique.”
The two bedroom units have double ovens and stovetops while single bedroom units have traditional ovens and stovetops.
“We’ve done these massive kitchens,” Milosev said. “We are thinking of empty nesters as our primary demographic. They are going to need more area. With that openness of space, it allows them to have dinners, guests back home.”
Two bedroom units are about 1,250 square feet and one-bedroom units are about 800 to 850 square feet.
The units include several closets with bi-fold doors and full-size washers and dryers.
All the bathrooms are tiled with an open shower concept where the tub is next to a shower with no barrier. Half of a glass shower wall separates the tub and shower from the rest of the bathroom. The two-bedroom units have a second bathroom which has a traditional tub without the open shower concept and the other three-bedroom units have two and a half baths.
The units include “nest” thermostats, which Milosev described as programmable, with the ability for a tenant to control the device from a smartphone.
Monnahan did the interior design work for the residential units and some of the common areas, while Artefact Inc. of Bethlehem also completed interior architectural designs for both residential and common areas, he added. Peoples Security Bank & Trust Co. of Scranton helped finance the project, he said.
A lot of time was taken in choosing and selecting details, which has contributed to the lengthy construction process.
“We worked on every style detail,” Milosev said. “We have actually taken every little thing and thought, is there a better solution to this? I have zero regrets.”
On the lower level, construction is wrapping up on some additional spaces and common areas.
He is selecting black and white historic Bethlehem photos that are reproduced to show notable structures and will display these in black frames along the wall to give a nod to the past.
Taking advantages of technology, he installed a package concierge on the lower level that tenants can access with a code to get package deliveries, including those from Amazon and other internet sites. Tenants can also be alerted via text when a package arrives.
Also on the same floor is a gym that will be available to both residential and commercial tenants, he added. Equipment, including machines, benches and dumbbells are already inside and Milosev said he is partnering with a local personal trainer who will operate and staff the gym.
Milosev said the trainer will offer several free training sessions to tenants.
The lower level also includes a conference room that any tenant can reserve as well as a quiet, tech-free library room and a storage and bike area for tenants.
Next to the gym is a cafeteria that will have a single large table as well as additional seating areas for a community-type setting, he added.
Next to the cafeteria is a lounge area with a sliding glass door that will include a game room, which includes an arcade game stocked with 1980s games as well as a large 65” TV and some table games. He is unsure whether this room will be only for residential tenants or also open to commercial tenants.
Meanwhile, the owners of Grain and The Bayou are still looking to open their restaurant on the first floor, Milosev said. He would like to create an outdoor seating area for the restaurant facing the Moravian College football field.
He plans to also create a secure environment with night vision cameras and inside the building, cameras that record the common areas.
Fairly soon, he will issue key fobs to tenants and program the elevators so only residential tenants can go past the fourth floor. At that point, there will be no entry to the upper floors from the staircase, he added.