Allentown Could Be Blueprint For New Development
Philly.com published a piece over the weekend comparing Hamilton St., the main drag through downtown Allentown, from three years ago to today, with the addition of their new arena and new business residents. The article makes the argument that with redirecting state tax money to drive incentives for new businesses to relocate to the area, “Allentown could be a blueprint for other long-suffering small cities eager to shed their industrial past”. The article goes on to describe how the state re-worked a lot of its tax requirements in order to make itself more appealing to businesses. In the case of the new arena, the PPL Center, the article describes how the state passed specific legislation in order to divert “most of the state taxes on new development within a 130-acre urban zone”. It goes on to say that, “the state taxes, and some city taxes, diverted back to the city from Neighborhood Improvement Zone properties will pay for more than $270 million in city bonds for the arena, a hotel, and four office buildings as well as the debt on private development.”
Bethlehem and Lancaster are two Pennyslvania cities next on the list to implement similar strategies when it comes to driving new businesses to their downtown areas, but for now they can study the ongoing growth in Allentown, PA to gauge their own expectations for the coming years.
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