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ULI Praises Downtown Development

ULI Praises Downtown Development

Allentown is one of six communities praised in an Urban Land Institute report entitled “Reaching for the Future: Creative Finance for Smaller Communities.”

A chapter in the 60 page report focuses on Downtown Allentown and the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) and attributes the city’s success “mainly to outstanding public-private collaboration.” It particularly credits Mayor Ed Pawlowski, State Senator Pat Browne and private developers for “pushing aside political partnership barriers to revitalize Allentown.” The report also cites City Center Investment Corporation for its vision. City Center has developed the first new hotel in the downtown in 35 years, three Class A office/retail towers, apartments, shops and restaurants.

The report also focuses on East Liberty, Pittsburgh; City Center, Greenville, South Carolina; Orland Park, Illinois; Sugar Land, Texas and Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati, Ohio. In each area the report said their success “required a strategic vision, leadership and creative financing. The leadership rose in different ways but came together in effective public/private partnerships.”

The NIZ has created 4,000 new jobs and spurred $1 billion in new development. The report calls Downtown Allentown “a thriving mixed-use destination.”

Last year, the PPL Center arena complex at Seventh & Hamilton streets captured an Urban Land Institute of Philadelphia’s 2015 Willard G. “Bill” Rouse III Award for Excellence. In announcing the award, the ULI said, “the development has been a catalyst for adjacent new residential and commercial redevelopment and has enhanced the image of Allentown as the commercial, entertainment and cultural center of the Lehigh Valley.”

The Institute was established in 1936. According to the report, it “has more than 37,000 members representing the entire spectrum of the land use and development disciplines.”

The complete report can be obtained at


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