50-unit luxury apartment complex proposed
A newly formed development company has announced plans to develop the first multi-family market rate housing project in Bethlehem’s Historic District in over 30 years. Jeffrey Parks, Dennis Benner, Garrett Benner and Brandon Benner are the owners of Skyline West LLC, the developer of a proposed 50-unit luxury apartment building to be located at 143 West Broad St., one block from Main Street. The building is proposed to be erected on the eastern slope of a ridge between the Monocacy Valley and Pennsylvania route 378. Each apartment will have a balcony with a view of the Monocacy Valley and South Mountain.
“PennDOT created this hillside peninsula when the four-lane highway was constructed in the 1960s,” Jeffrey Parks said. “Our goal is to attract residents who are accustomed to more contemporary amenities and will support the retail stores, restaurants, professionals and non-profits in the downtown.”
Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez said the project will add additional residential options to the city’s north side.
“This will go a long way in fulfilling the goal of providing opportunities for folks to live, work, shop and dine in our downtowns,” Donchez said.
Neville Gardner, chair of the Downtown Bethlehem Association, supports the project.
“The DBA board has endorsed the Skyline West project in part because it will add 50 to 100 people who can patronize the downtown daily,” Gartner said, “ and also because it will add a very cool contemporary residential option to the downtown.”
Bob Begliomini, chair of the Board of Directors of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce said the Bethlehem Chamber Board has endorsed the project because it is good for the city and igood for chamber members that are attracting employees who are interested in living in this type of development in a “vibrant downtown.”
Skyline West amenities will include onsite parking, washer and dryer in each apartment, modern kitchens with gas stovetops, pet friendly environment with a pet washing area, fitness center, community room with outdoor deck, bicycle rack and a package receiving system.
The Skyline West team intends to maintain as much of the native plantings on the steep hillside as possible as it is critical to the character of the project.
“The natural environment of the hillside is a paramount issue for us, both for the residents of the building and those who will see the hillside from the Monocacy Valley,” Parks said.
With the sloping hillside and limited level land, the construction of the project has been described by the construction manager as “putting a ship in a bottle.”
The Skyline West project includes two properties, 143 W. Broad Street, which was purchased by the company in 2017 and a hillside parcel of 1.3 acres that is owned by the Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority. The company has requested that the RDA sell the land, which extends from Conestoga Street adjacent to the Monocacy Creek to the top of the hill. After appraisals, the RDA is considering an agreement to sell the property based on the development plan being proposed for $30,000. The proposed agreement of sale was on the agenda for the RDA’s Jan. 18 meeting. The sale is subject the developer obtaining all necessary city approvals and moving forward with the project.