All three major cities of the Lehigh Valley--Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton are seeing a resurgence in their downtown areas. A key component of this revival in each instance is high-end apartments.
The former Farr’s shoe store in Bethlehem that was converted into twenty-four high-end apartments rented so quickly that developers now plan on buying other center city buildings and outfitting them.
Within two months, Easton’s former Pomeroy’s department store that was turned into twenty-two rentals, all leased. The end-process was so painless, that the Hunterdon County based developer who dealt with stalled redevelopment plans for three years prior, is now in talks to buy three more properties and convert them into luxury apartments.
This market has current Allentown center city developer, J.B. Reilly salivating at the thought of their 168 luxury rentals that are part of the minor league hockey arena deal. In addition to this, the city has proposed 172 high-end apartments as part of the waterfront complex along the Lehigh River.
The high-end and luxury rental market is one of the fastest growing in the housing sector and is leading a rebirth in the downtowns of small and large cities among the thirty-plus, two income households. Not to mention that the smaller cities luxury price tag is a much better bargain than their larger brethren.
Additionally the residents that they create are even more important to the urban recovery than the attracted visitors; meaning people living in the area are more likely to shop and dine at the new stores and restaurants being built there.