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Allentown's Neighborhood Improvement Zone represents the future

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According to Patti Sellers, author of the book titled "The End of the Suburbs", Allentown's Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) represents the future; urban revitalization or the decline of the suburbs.

Patti, in a forum about urban revitalization, remarked how funny it is that J.B. Reily's, the man responsible for much suburban development (senior housing and apartment buildings), is now leading Allentown's downtown renewal through City Center.

City Center is responsible for much of downtown Allentown's transformation. Focused around the hockey arena, the company is initially responsible for the development of 350 luxury apartments, 650,000 square feet of office space, and another 50,000 square feet of high-end, luxury retail shops.

In addition to the construction, the NIZ allows the city to attract large growing corporations to area; Comcast running the hockey arena, Lehigh Valley Health Network providing a sports medicine clinic, National Penn Bancshares occupying office building adjacent the hockey arena.

Combine this with city looking to develop a arts and cultural center, a fine dining restaurant base, multiple sports and entertainment complexes, all within the NIZ, and you have everything needed for the development of a large and varied central town square; the main component of urban renewal.

The thriving town square is what is leading the comeback for large and small cities, and will be necessary for even the suburbs if they wish to survive in the current form, according to author Patti Sellers.

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