Feb 10, 2016
The Re-use of Allentown's Factories
A few years ago, Allentown changed its zoning to allow the adaptive re-use of its factories for apartments, with less variances required. One gentleman converted a number of former industrial buildings along the Jordan Creek. Of course, all these specific proposals used words like loft and upscale to help persuade city planning and zoning. For the most part, those new units are not high end, nor do they attract a different clientele than the thousands of other intercity apartments. I have mixed feelings about the conversions. One on end, I tend to be a property rights guy, who supports the owner's decision regarding best use of his property. On the other side, I realize that these units are adding to the density issues in Allentown, and problems facing the school district.
Planners are concerned about the lack of available parking for a current proposal to convert the building at 10th and Turner (shown above) into apartments. Ironically, to help facilitate the NIZ, Allentown Parking Authority was willing to sell off many its surface lots to connected developers. Nothing is applied very evenly in Allentown, if it's parking, zoning or any other right.