Colin McEvoy has the huge news:
National Penn Bancshares Inc., the parent company of Lehigh Valley bank KNBT, will move its headquarters into Two Center City, a part of the Allentown hockey arena redevelopment project, the company announced this morning in a news release [...]
The Allentown operation will be in developer J.B. Reilly‘s building at Seventh and Hamilton streets and employ 275 people in the new tax district, the company said [...]
“It certainly is good news,” Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce President Tony Iannelli said, calling the company’s move a “shot in the arm” for Allentown’s redevelopment effort. “Who would have thought this kind of activity three, four years ago?”
He said the move is the reverse of what’s been seen in recent years, as this company is moving from the suburbs into an urban core.
An “extremely solid organization like KNBT” making a commitment to Center City Allentown is all about “building credibility,” he said. It started with J.B. Reilly bringing its “strong reputation” to the project and has been enhanced by National Penn, he said.
This is the Thode-Geeting cheap rents theory in action. KNBT is based in suburban Boyertown now, but cheap rents in the NIZ make Allentown a more attractive destination, so they’re moving. 245 jobs downtown will help enlarge the market (in addition to hundreds of others), allowing the downtown area to support all kinds of other service businesses that the market is too small to support today. The more people that are working (and living) downtown, the more businesses the market can support.