A new five story development has been proposed to replace empty parking lots on Third and Taylor Street in South Bethlehem. Bethlehem’s Historic Conservation Commission voted in favor of the building’s height and number of stories with plans to review other details of the project in the future.
ASA Architects designed the building to have retail on the first floor and apartment units on the other four floors.
Peron Development is the developer working on this project.
Darlene Heller, director of planning and zoning for the city of Bethlehem, said the building will replace service parking lots left behind by Bethlehem Steel.
New developments, such as 510 Flats and the Charter Art School, have helped create consistency throughout the South Side, and Heller said the new building will further that.
The Historic Conservation Commission first saw the proposal during its Aug. 30 meeting. Members of the commission noted that the height of this new building would differ from the surrounding buildings.
“It was a little bit controversial for us because many of the buildings on Third (Street) are three stories,” said Gary Lader, commission chair. “Even though we have so many guidelines and so many references, there can still be many gray areas.”
Lader said the commission came to a consensus that the proposed height for the building is appropriate, and the building passed the historic review. He said the design helps it to not look out of place, despite being taller than most of the buildings nearby.
Heller said she expects the project to be a beneficial addition to the development along Third Street. She said the location of the building speaks to the desirability of the South Side.
Karianne Gelinas, vice president of business development and talent supply at the Lehigh Valley Economic Development, expressed the positive impact of the development on a growing city.
“We need that type of residential space for people from all different walks of life and educational levels to be able to call Bethlehem their home,” she said.
Gelinas said the project will support the Bethlehem community and the development of the city as South Bethlehem continues to grow.
“Bethlehem has got this really vibrant scene,” Gelinas said. “Between Lehigh, as well as the art scene, the Steel Stacks and the casino. It’s just this absolutely reimagined city compared to the 90s and prior when steel was king.”
Lader said the commission does not consider its role complete. He said a project of this size will require a lot more discussion.
Heller said the development will undergo two more reviews through the Bureau of Planning and Zoning before it can continue.