Scott Kraus says Butz is going forward with its office expansion, in spite of the NIZ lawsuits:
The Allentown Economic Development Corp. is seeking developers to convert the long-vacant Schoen’s furniture store building at 612 Hamilton St. into a mixed-use residential-commercial property, and Alvin H. Butz Inc. plans a groundbreaking for its 50,000-square foot office expansion at Ninth and Hamilton streets Thursday[...]
The $10 million Butz expansion has been awarded a $3 million Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program grant from the state and has begun the application process for improvement zone financing. The expansion is expected to be completed in early 2013.
“We are moving ahead as planned,” President and CEO Greg Butz said. “We are excited about taking the next step with our project. We thought with the uncertainty with the hockey arena with the NIZ situation, it is important to keep the momentum going with things downtown and didn’t want to delay our own project.”
Butz said the combination of funding will allow Butz to offer rents in the $10- to $12-a-square foot range, compared with rates of $16 to $18 without it. The improvement zone portion of the funding, if approved, would be helpful to the project but won’t make or break it, Butz said.
“It’s not critical,” he said. “If it was critical, maybe we would be slowing down a little bit. I think it’s going to help get tenants.”