Pennsylvania’s City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ) Act will designate two third-tier cities for this special tax zone, which is a scaled down version of the Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ). The creation of the NIZ was used to fuel Allentown’s current construction boom; mainly the hockey arena, the waterfront redevelopment, and future office and apartments building being planned for the downtown section.
The unique tax zone is thought to be responsible for over $500 million--and more likely close to $1 billion--being invested in Allentown; nearby Bethlehem plans to be the next municipality to be awarded the designation, which allows any construction projects in an approved 130 mile area to take advantage of the special tax funding.
PA’s deadline for applications, to the seven cities that qualify, to begin this process is November 30, and Bethlehem fully expects that their high amount of private development will sway the state decision-makers. In fact, having private versus public projects, means the state gets to incur less risk, even if it will see less profit from the ventures.
Another factor in Bethlehem’s favor, they are planning to have their application completed early. By mid November, which is weeks before the deadline. This would give the state more time in the consideration process, which is crucial because the designations are slated to be awarded by late 2013 or early 2014.