Signs of Renaissance

Demonstrating its commitment as a community partner, Lehigh will become an anchor tenant in a new six-story building to rise at Third and New streets in South Bethlehem.

The $20 million project, announced in December, was lauded by community leaders as key to the South Side’s reurbanization. The new Greenway Park building will have retail space on the first floor and office space on the second through sixth floors. A series of pedestrian walkways will connect the building to a new 626-space city parking garage.

“This project will serve as a catalyst for more development on the South Side, but most importantly this development will serve as a gateway into the city from Route 378 and Fahy Bridge,” said Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez. “It will also bring the much-needed foot traffic to [South Side] businesses.”

Groundbreaking will be in the spring, with construction expected to be completed the following year. The developer is Dennis Benner ’76.

When it’s completed, Lehigh will move 140 employees from its advancement office into the building. Joining Lehigh as an anchor tenant will be St. Luke’s University Health Network, which will use a floor as clinical, teaching and administrative space.

“Lehigh University is proud to play a significant role in this gateway initiative for South Side Bethlehem,” President John Simon said. “We are happy to join St. Luke’s as an anchor tenant in this building, and our presence will enable Lehigh to further demonstrate a strong commitment to serving as a positive community partner.”

Donchez lauded Lehigh and St. Luke’s for their involvement.

“We have talked about the rebirth of South Bethlehem for many years,” he said. “I believe that this project, along with others, is the beginning of a true renaissance in South Bethlehem. The partnership between the City of Bethlehem, Lehigh University and St. Luke’s could not be stronger. This is a major commitment by both institutions to the future vitality of the South Side.”

The Bethlehem Historic Conservation Commission in December also recommended approval of the plan.