Two City Center Will Be Second Tallest Building in Allentown

It seems my fear of insufficient ambition and density in the NIZ are unfounded so far. Matt Assad has the good news:

Bolstered by an Allentown arena project that appears to be full-steam ahead, City Center Investment Corp. has decided to boost the height of its proposed downtown office complex to 11 stories.

At five floors taller than its original proposal, Two City Center will be the second tallest building in downtown Allentown, surpassed only by the PPL tower.

Major demolition started Thursday on the former First National Bank building at Seventh and Hamilton streets to make room for what will be a 181-foot tall brick, glass and limestone structure for up to 900 workers.

“When people look out across the horizon and see this building a few blocks from PPL Plaza, they’re going to notice that Allentown is beginning to build a bit of a skyline,” said Jim Harbaugh, chief operating officer for City Center as he watched demolition begin. “But first they have to take this building down. They’ve got a big ol’ crane and the big boys are going to be swinging today. This is going to be fun.”


  1. Unfortunately my fears about massive vacancies and a rent structure that would destroy the Lehigh Valley remain in play.

    Even someone as inexperienced as you are in financial matters has to realize that for this to work you need a massive inflow of new businesses and existing business relocations from outside the Lehigh Valley. Otherwise we’re all fucked.

    And now we need an even more massive inflow. All while JB Reilly takes his tens of millions in construction management fees back to Saucon Valley and Ed Pawlowski leaves town in 2014.

    Yep, great plan Junior. Hope the rest of the people here aren’t like you, forgetting the most important part – paying tenants at rent levels that don’t destroy us.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      The whole point of the NIZ is to massively reduce market rents for office space. You see lower rents as a bad thing, I see it as a great thing. Low rents relative to other areas in SEPA and western NJ will attract businesses. Low rents will lower overhead for existing businesses and make possible new business models that didn’t work with higher overhead. That’s going to be bad for some building owners who depend on higher rents, but awesome for a lot more people and businesses. Which is fine. If you think you know of any growth strategies that don’t have winners and losers, you’re not thinking hard enough.

  2. No, I follow the low rents argument. My point has always been there was a right way to do this and a wrong way – the wrong way, fraught with risk and raiding of tax revenues for the benefit of just a couple of people, was chosen.

    You’ve made the point often that you hope the Lehigh Valley gets destroyed by this (what was it, Trexlertown a ghost town?)

    Bottom line – you don’t care how many thousands of lives you destroy as long as JB gets his tens of millions. Hope you invited him to the wedding, the way you’ve carried his ball sack you’d be due a great gift (if he hasn’t paid you already).

    • Jon Geeting says:

      I’ve made the point here several times that I don’t believe low rents in Allentown will be bad for the rest of the Valley. For one thing, rents aren’t the only consideration. As you’ve pointed out, a business might be worried about the crime rate and pay somewhat higher rents to locate in Bethlehem or some other place with enough cops. The other point is that rent competition will push down office rents in the suburbs too, attracting businesses from outside the LV. There’s no reason it would work for Allentown and not the suburbs. The effect will likely be to put all office rents in the LV on a lower growth track, which is great for the region’s ability to attract business.

  3. Jon, FYI this will only be the second talles building downtown. At least 6 Senior towers and apartment building elsewere in the city are taller. These include Regency Towers, Townhouse Tower, Episcipal House, Groos Towers, Bi’Nia Birith (Sp?) and others.

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