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Former PPL Plaza to be renamed, rebranded

The former PPL Plaza will be renamed and rebranded by its new owner. (File photo) –

The New York-based commercial real estate firm that bought the building formerly known as PPL Plaza said it is working to rebrand and reposition the mostly vacant building.

Somera Road Inc. has hired local leasing and marketing agencies to breathe new life into the LEED Gold-certified building, which was built in 2002 as one of Allentown’s earliest revitalization projects.

With an eye to appealing to a millennial, urban workforce, the firm has hired JLL vice president Matt Dorman and executive vice president Phil Shenkel to lease the property.

“We are embarking on an exciting, full-scale transformation for this building and it is critical to our strategy that we partner with experts who have local insight and expertise from a rebranding and marketing standpoint,” said Ian Ross, managing principal of Somera Road.

Dorman said his team, as well as the building’s owners and architects, will be working on a master plan for redeveloping what he called a valuable piece of downtown real estate. They even reached out for help from the building’s original architect, Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York.

Dorman said they want to take their time in redesigning and leasing the 240,000 square feet of available space in the building.

“We want to do this thoughtful and not just sign the first tenants that come along,” he said. “We want this to be a center in Allentown.”

Somera Road has hired Altitude Marketing of Emmaus to help with the renaming and rebranding of the property.

The building at 835 Hamilton St. had fallen on hard times, due in large part to its exclusion from the downtown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone and the tax breaks that come with it.

A handful of tenants remain in the building, including some PPL offices, a deli, a BB&T bank branch and the Gold Credit Union.

Dorman said new tenants will have access to the benefits of the NIZ as well as a Class A office space.

Writer Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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