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Projects on these storied properties in Bethlehem just got a $2 million jump start

Bethlehem has landed $2 million in state grants to jump start a trio of key economic development projects: The redevelopment of the shuttered Boyd Theatre, a new public market at Lehigh Riverport and the expansion of the Banana Factory , according to state Sen. Lisa Boscola.Here’s a breakdown of the projects announced this week that will be funded under the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program:Boyd TheatreThe long-shuttered Boyd Theatre on Bethlehem’s Broad Street is proposed to become a mixed use project including apartments and commercial. (Harry Fisher / The Morning Call/)Location: 30-40 W. Broad St.Grant amount: $750,000Project details: The long-shuttered Boyd Theatre, once a beloved 98-year-old vaudeville and movie house in Center City Bethlehem, will be demolished to make way for a $22 million apartment and retail project under a proposal owner Charles Jefferson plans to submit to the city. The 120-apartment project would bring residents to a sleepy block just around the corner from historic Main Street, injecting more vibrancy into a downtown that grew up around the city’s original Moravian settlement. The first-floor retail would augment a stretch known as Restaurant Row.The Boyd property, at 30-40 W. Broad St., once housed four stores, a basement nightclub, second-floor offices and the nearly 1,200-seat theater. It closed in 2011 after a windstorm damaged the roof and, four years later, water damage shut down several storefronts. By the end of 2015, Jefferson’s Bethlehem-Boyd LP bought the property for $1.35 million, Northampton County assessment records show.Public Market at Lehigh RiverportA public market is proposed for the former Starters Riverport located in Lehigh Riverport, 2 W. Second St., in Bethlehem. (APRIL BARTHOLOMEW / THE MORNING CALL/)Location: 2 W. Second St.Grant amount: $750,000Project details: A $3 million public market, building on the success of others like the one that Easton debuted in 2016, would replace the former Starters Riverport, where the Lehigh Valley’s largest restaurant once operated. The space would be home to 30 vendors and businesses.Riverport, a former finishing mill that once housed Bethlehem Steel’s alloy and tool division, was redeveloped 13 years ago into a multi-use project that included a garage, 172 condominiums and commercial space, including Starters. Starters closed six years ago, and it has been vacant since.Another public market, in Allentown, is expected to open in the fall. The Downtown Allentown Market, will occupy a 12,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by clothing stores Sage and Aquarius, next to Queen City BBQ on the Arts Walk. ArtsQuest Community Cultural CenterGlass blown by students and instructors is for sale outside the Banana Factory during the Spring on the South Side festival in Bethlehem. (ADDISON GEORGE / SPECIAL TO THE MORNING CALL/)Location: 25 W. Third St.Grant Amount: $500,000Details: ArtsQuest, the nonprofit behind Musikfest, is planning an expansion to the Banana Factory, an arts and education center that it launched in 1999 in south Bethlehem. The 80,000-square-foot expansion will include an arts-based preschool program, more classes for people of all ages, a black box theater and more.The project is to include a three-story addition, two outdoor plazas and reconfigured parking. Two early 20th-century buildings that would be retained: The Theodoredis Wholesale Banana Co. building from which the Banana Factory derives its name, and a former auto parts store where the Crayola Gallery is now. Gone will be more modern infill development, a garage that’s not considered historic, a 1950s-era expansion to the Theodoredis building and a 19th-century house.
Source: Morningcall

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