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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Benner Unveils $20 MM Greenway Park Building



Dennis Benner
Sometime early next year, a new building will start climbing for the stars in South Bethlehem, at the intersection of S. Third and New Streets. Developer Dennjis Benner, who is also a distinguished Bethlehem attorney, unveiled for a $20 million six-story office bulding that will house two very important tenants - St. Luke's University Health Network and lehigh University.

The ground floor of the 125,000 sq ft building, which will be linked to a new four-level parking garage, will consist of retail, with the remaining floors being occupied for office use.

St. Luke's will occupy at least one floor for clinical, teaching and administrative space. Lehigh University will move 140 employees from its Office of Advancement into the Greenway Building.

Construction is expected to start in the Spring and last a year.

Benner made the announcement On December 9 from inside a tent set up for the occasion, but the crowd of interested people was so huge that it spilled out around the perimeters. There were close to 100 people, including a panoply of business leaders like Mike Perruucci, Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. CEO Don Cunningham, Bethlehemn Mayor Bob Donchez and other City officials, St. Luke's President Richard Anderson, Lehigh University President John Simon and a host of Lehigh engineering and business students.

Dr. Steve Thode with Mayor Bob Donchez
Donchez called the building a "major commitment to the future vitality of the South Side." Over the past several months, he has been engaged in what has been jokingly called "shuttle diplomacy" as he helped put together a deal with two major anchor tenants. Instead of being greeted by a vacant tract, visitors will now see the Greenway Building. Donchez, who grew up on the South Side, calls the building a "catalyst for additional development in South Bethlehem. It will also serve as a gateway into the City from Route 378 and provide much needed foot traffic for the businesses in South Bethlehem."

Benner himself has been a catalyst for in-city development. He has also proposed a nine-story building at 4th and Vine. He is thrilled at the building design prepared by architect Howard Kulp, which includes energy efficient glass, sunscreens and other energy eficiencies.

St. Luke's President Richard Anderson said its presence demonstates the hosp[ital's "long standing commitment to our neighbors ands the Bethlehem Southside ... ."Lehigh University President John Simon stated Lehigh is "proud to play a significant role in this gateway initiative for Southside Bethlehem."

I got there just as the show was starting. Instead of being someone inside the tent, pissing out, I was where I like to be, on the outside, pissing in. But there really is nothing negative about this project. A group of us sat outside and made wisecracks as each speaker waxed on, kinda' like Mystery Science Theater 3000. Instead of Crow T Robit, my partner was The Express Times Sarah Cassi, who tried to deny she knows me.

LU students have been studying South Side under Dr. Thode

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

as usual kissing donchez's ass because your boy is his puppet master and you girl is his decd. u r so predictable

Anonymous said...

Yeah but what's in it for Mayor Pawlowski? Allentown Democrat Voter

Anonymous said...

Good piece, Bernie.

It's nice to see just a non-controversial, plain-old good idea for the community like this.

-Jeffrey Anthony

Anonymous said...

after they rip down the Martin Tower, and in about 30 years when they implode the casino cause the bridge above it will need to be rebuilt, and the bridge supports are built right through the casino, so goooooodbye casino!

this will be the anchor building in bethlehem

Anonymous said...

It was a building that was never gonna happen until tenants were secured. Good news. Good work Donchez.

(Posted 4:41 and inadvertently deleted)

Kevin Bellew said...

What happened to the seven story building with apartments? Good enough for Easton but not Bethlehem, which needs good new housing. Donchez called this a 'game changer' - that tired term - just like the Bass Pro Shops he announced two years ago, right?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Kevin, Actually, the person who said that was Joe Kelly. Benner has several buildings in the works. I like what he is doing, and where he is doing it. I accidentally deleted one of your comments yesterday and apologize.

Anonymous said...

8:36. Another misstatement of facts, again

Anonymous said...

Love the look of the building. I walk past that corner everyday and it is a mess. It's about time something is done there.

Anonymous said...

Was Breanna Holland invited? LOL. Didn't she fight this using her students at Lehigh. I suppose she is in favor of it now since Lehigh is now involved.

Anonymous said...

I'd be curious to hear Thode's take on the Martin Tower saga.

Anonymous said...

8:54 Holland is a tool. She isnt even from here, knows nothing about the SouthSide and/or what we need over here! We need more people on the street, in our stores and shops.

Anonymous said...

Holland is out of touch with reality and should leave it to the professionals

Anonymous said...

I remember when 3rd Street Chicken and Ribs opened at 3rd and New. I must be getting old. I did see Bernie on TV during the 6:00 WFMZ newscast. They did a segment on the announcement. BOH cameos near the end of the video footage.

Bernie O'Hare said...



I stood next to her.

Anonymous said...

10:29 Out of touch is not the word! OUT is. As in "out of it" !