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Project adds 61 apartments to downtown Allentown

The $13 million apartment building at Sixth and Walnut streets brings 61 new units to downtown Allentown.

For J.B. Reilly, president and CEO of City Center Investment Corp., the project is significant as it is the company’s first outside the Neighborhood Improvement Zone, which offers tax incentives to developers.

“The whole idea was to help ignite economic development beyond the boundaries of the business district,” Reilly said. “This project is historically significant for the future of Allentown to survive and thrive. We need people living and working in the urban core.”

Walnut Street Commons, a 70,000-square-foot-project, is about 85 percent leased, Reilly said. Workers are still putting the final changes on the upper floors, which should be ready by next month.

Rents start at $967 for studio units, $1,275 for one-bedroom units and $1,570 for two-bedroom units.

The project includes walk-up apartments along Walnut Street, as well as a lobby coffee bar, resident TV lounge with a wet bar, dining area and terrace. It also has a fitness center, business center, storage areas and direct access to a parking deck.

In fact, the apartment building wraps around the parking structure, largely hiding it from view. The community parking deck is a critical piece of the project, as well as to others, according to Reilly.

“This one parking deck, it’s supplying four major projects,” he said.

The Allentown Parking Authority built the 953-space parking deck in 2015. It is expected to generate about $858,000 in revenue each year said John Morgan, the authority’s executive director of.

Overall, City Center has invested about $455 million in downtown Allentown, with another $235 million in projects under development and $300 million in the planning stages.

The firm’s other projects include four office towers, the Renaissance Allentown Hotel, STRATA Flats and 520 Lofts, and upscale retail and restaurant space.

The builder for Walnut Street Commons was North Star Construction Management Inc. of Allentown. The project was designed by Bernardon Architects of Philadelphia.