Bethlehem Should Draw Its CRIZ District Around the Steel Stacks Area

Totally agree with commenter urban_lv on this:

The CRIZ should be used to encourage high-density development all around SteelStacks. Include all the parking lots on both sides of Third Street between Loopers and the Sands. The infrastructure is in place and there are high-quality amenities like SteelStacks and the Greenway. It is the perfect place for new walkable development.

Everybody always talks about how much Bethlehem Steel land there is, and it’s true – the amount of space is enormous and to appreciate it you really have to take a drive past Sands, past Cigars International, and check out how much barren wasteland there is. It’s daunting.

But I tend to think Bethlehem economic development people are too caught up with how big the space is, and should really put some horse-blinders on their heads and limit their efforts to the area closest to the Southside downtown for now. Once you’ve got a nice high-rise office district going around Steel Stacks, the land on the immediate periphery will start to become more valuable and get activated for private development, and then you just keep branching out from there.

The CRIZ district is an opportunity to do that, but people seem inclined to screw this up by cherrypicking a bunch of random one-off projects, rather than concentrating resources to do something really transformative.


  1. The CRIZ could accelerate the rehab of the Steel office buildings that are sitting unused. Also, the courtyard in front of the Artsquest center is designed to be a town square, but there is no town around it. Surrounding it with office and residential space would bring it to life 24 hours a day. The public amenities that have been built in this area are excellent, but its time for a big influx of residential and commercial development on the surrounding land.

    Just adding a couple prominent buildings at the intersections of Polk Street with 2nd St. and 3rd St. would draw pedestrians between Third Street and Steelstacks.

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