ALLENTOWN, PA-Bethlehem-based Dunn Twiggar Co. LLC has unveiled plans for the Waterfront, a mixed-use complex at the former Lehigh Structural Steel site along the Lehigh River. It has applied to the city for creation of an overlay zone, the Riverfront Redevelopment Overlay District, which would allow other uses on the industrial-zoned 26-acre parcel.

The developer obtained funding from the Environmental Protection Agency for testing, which has been completed, according to Ryan Dunn, a Dunn Twiggar principal. “We have the land under contract, and the city planning commission will review the project this month. Modification of existing zoning is critical,” he says, “and our plan is to close on the land if and when our zoning overlay application is granted.”

Mayor Ed Pawlowski has endorsed the project, as has Lehigh County executive Don Cunningham. The land owner is LSS Realty. Dunn declined to disclose the price for the land, but says the all-in cost of the Waterfront is estimated at $175 million, including the land cost.

The master plan, designed by Pittsburgh-based Burt Hill, calls for 560 residential units in a mix of townhouses and for-sale condo and rental units, a 90-room hotel, 100,000 sf of office space and 65,000 sf of retail. It also includes a marina, riverwalk running the full length of the complex, a central public plaza and a “restaurant row” with outdoor dining overlooking the river. “The majority of the buildings will be four-story structures with two 10-story ones anchoring the north and south ends of the site,” Dunn says.

“We’ve approached municipal, county and state agencies regarding incentives, such as tax credits,” he says, adding, “most likely we will do a joint venture on some components, but we prefer to be part of the entire development to ensure our vision.” He says the project will take several years of work prior to the start of construction, which will be completed in phases over a 10-year timeline.Dunn and his partner, Andrew Twiggar, founded Dunn Twiggar in January 2005. This February it acquired the East Penn Place office building at Eighth and Hamilton streets here. The Waterfront will be is largest development project by far and the largest redevelopment complex ever for Allentown.

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