Proposed sports complex potential boon for businesses

A proposed $5.5 million soccer fi eld complex that would be built on a former golf course in Upper Saucon Township could drive more visitors to surrounding commercial establishments.

With more than 50,000 people attending the U.S. World Cup viewing parties in Southside Bethlehem last year, soccer could be the next big thing to bring business to the Lehigh Valley.

With more than 50,000 people attending the U.S. World Cup viewing parties in Southside Bethlehem last year, soccer could be the next big thing to bring business to the Lehigh Valley.

Allentown has minor league hockey and baseball, but Upper Saucon Township could gain a foothold in boosting the Valley’s presence as a destination for sports and the business that it brings.

A proposed $5.5 million soccer field complex that would be built at Center Valley Club, a former golf course in Upper Saucon, could elevate the sport’s position as a driving force in economic growth by bringing more visitors to the surrounding commercial establishments. The complex would include two natural grass fields and three artificial turf fields.

Lehigh Valley United, a nonprofit organization based in Allentown, is looking to develop the complex across from The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, said Gregg Feinberg, a volunteer for the soccer club.

Feinberg, a lawyer, developer and co-owner of Feinberg Real Estate Advisors in South Whitehall Township, is helping to spearhead this project as a club volunteer and avid soccer fan. With 600-700 families involved in the club, there is a strong need for a premier soccer facility, he said.

“We think there is a need for the caliber of complex that we envisioned,” said Greg Ramos, executive director of soccer operations for Lehigh Valley United. “As a hub location that accesses the New York, New Jersey Metro area, Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Lancaster in a central way, we think this could really generate a lot of interest.”

Aside from soccer, other sports could be played on the artificial turf, including ultimate Frisbee tournaments and field hockey games, Ramos said.

“We are very open to that; we would not dismiss other sports from utilization,” Ramos said.

At Camp Meeting Road and East Valley Road, the complex would cost about $5.5 million to build. The two natural grass fields would be for soccer use, and three others would be multipurpose fields.

Plans call for grandstands with 200 seats per field, light poles for championship fields, a parking area with 300 spaces, bus parking for five buses and a practice field. Plans include constructing two buildings connected to a covered plaza for rest rooms, locker rooms, concessions, storage area and ticket booths.

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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