Bethlehem City Council’s controversial rezoning of the 52-acre Martin Tower is supposed to jump start development at the long-vacant site, including the possible demolition of the iconic 21-story former Bethlehem Steel headquarters. While city officials wait for a master plan, they’ve been greeted by something else - a lawsuit.
Bethlehem Sands led all Pennsylvania casinos in table games revenue, according to a report released by the state gaming board. It raked in $214 million, which is a 13.4 percent jump over the previous year. Overall, Pennsylvania’s casinos generated over $3.1 billion in revenue last year, the most money since casinos began operations in 2006.
Slots machine revenue at the Sands generated $299 million, a 6.6 percent revenue over 2014. Sands finished second among 12 casinos in slots revenue.
Though Bethlehem’s Boyd Theatre was recently sold for $1.35 million, the city planning commission has added it to its roster of blighted properties. Chief Building Inspector Craig Hynes made the recommendation at the commision’s Jan. 14 meeting after noting that the property, located at 30-40 West Broad St., has been vacant for four to six years.
A leaking roof forced the city to close three businesses located at the site. Hynes added that a blighted designation might provide a loan advantage to its new owner.
Before he stepped down as chair of Bethlehem’s Planning Commission at its Jan. 14 meeting, Attorney Jim Fiorentino invited Mayor Bob Donchez and Community and Economic Development Director Alicia Karner to appear and explain the “exact nature” of their discussions with Martin Tower developer Lew Ronca. But neither Donchez nor Karner accepted.
If Bethlehem is the jewel of the Lehigh Valley, its Historic and Southside shopping districts are its two brightest stars. Iconic shops like the Aardvark Sports Shop and Donegal Square blend nicely with the Moravian Book Shop, arguably the oldest operating bookstore in the world. Across the river, Homebase Skate Shop, the Southside 313 Bar and Cutters Bike Shop are just a few destinations dotting the Greenway between Third and Fourth streets.