Eyeing Neighbors Site developer for a 142-unit residential building

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Neighbors Home & Garden Center on Main Street in Hellertown closed in the summer of 2020. A local developer now wants to build nearly 150 apartments on the site. (PHOTO FILE)

A local developer is once again eyeing a property in the Hellertown borough for a major residential and commercial project.

Members of the Hellertown Planning Commission heard plans from Greystone Capital Inc. to build a 142-unit apartment complex on the former Neighbors Home & Garden site, located at 42 Main Street, during their Tuesday evening meeting.

The developer plans to keep the two existing stone buildings closest to Main Street, as well as the existing barn to be used as commercial space.

Greystone is known for other residential projects in the Hellertown and Lehigh Valley area, such as the Bethlehem Fields Apartments on Cherry Lane and Birchwood Commons Apartments in Bethlehem Township.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the developer laid out plans for the construction of three four-story buildings on a site of approximately 5.5 acres. The buildings are currently designed to be between 46,000 and 50,000 square feet and each would contain between 46 and 50 apartment units.

The newly constructed buildings would be accompanied by a large parking lot, with plans for 207 parking spaces, some of which would be covered.

Developer of apartments in Hellertown

The plans proposed for the Neighbors site include the construction of three apartment buildings with 207 parking spaces. The developers plan to cover some parking spaces, which are denoted by a dark brown shade in this diagram.

The developers pointed out that the proposed complex would emphasize exterior amenities, such as a large courtyard in the center of the three proposed buildings.

The developers are also keen to capitalize on the terrain’s proximity to the Saucon Rail Trail and have presented plans to install a bridge connecting their property to the trail.

The 50-foot-long steel truss bridge would be accessible from Tumminello Park in Hellertown. The developers are also considering adding a secondary access point to the trail, which would pass through the apartment complex.

The developers described the apartment complex’s target market as “young professionals”, and subsequently the bulk of the units would be studios and one-bedroom apartments.

“When we looked at Hellertown and did our market analysis and looked at what we thought was sufficient in the market, we came to the conclusion that we thought the market was woefully underserved with high end studio apartments and one high bedroom. of range (apartments), ”said an official representing the developer.

About 80 percent of the units offered would be studios and one-bedroom apartments, with the remainder being two-bedroom apartments.

They estimated that the studio rent would be in the range of $ 1,100 to $ 1,300 per month.

Local real estate developer Greystone Capital Inc. plans to have the bulk – around 80 percent – of the units being either studio or one-bedroom apartments. The other units would be two bedroom apartments.

The developers also discussed the perceived economic benefits of the project at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Obviously there will be a lot of spinoffs for adjacent businesses, because the people in these projects that we have also like to walk to where they shop and eat, and that’s a good place to do that. Said a representative.

The developers have claimed that the site currently generates around $ 43,000 in annual taxes, of which just under $ 11,000 goes to the borough. According to their calculations, the annual property taxes generated by the new development would be approximately $ 283,000, of which the borough would receive approximately $ 70,000.

The developers added that according to their plans, the impervious terrain at the site would drop from around 89% to 60% or less.

Representatives for real estate developer Greystone Capital Inc. said they plan to use building materials that match the aesthetics of existing structures on Main Street. They presented the Hellertown Planning Commission with this rendering of another of their projects, the Sullivan Parke Apartments in Forks Township, which they say will serve as the inspiration for three new buildings on the site of the former Neighbors Home & Garden.

The developer’s plans have been met with mixed opinions from members of the planning committee. One of the main concerns expressed by members was the potential effect of the development on traffic in the area.

The builders said they plan to keep only the existing entrance to the property, but they plan to add a right-turn lane into the complex from Main Street.

The apartment complex would experience similar traffic rates to those seen by neighbors, they said, and they would continue to use a low-volume PennDOT permit for entry.

Low-volume permits allow up to 1,500 trips per day, and the developers have estimated that the complex would generate about 700 trips per day.

Discussion at Tuesday night’s meeting was about submitting a sketch plan, and no formal action was taken by members of the planning committee, which provided comments and recommendations to the developers.

Since the study site is in the Borough’s Shopping Center zoning district, Hellertown Borough Council is expected to approve plans for the project to proceed.

According to Hellertown zoning and code Enforcement Officer Kris Russo, the promoter could ask the council to announce a development order to be discussed at a future meeting.

“If they vote to announce and set a meeting date, the applicant will then return to (the) planning committee for a formal review, and then appear before the board at a special meeting prior to a regular board meeting,” Russo said. “At the special meeting, council will take the recommendation of the Borough Planning Commission, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, staff and residents, and then a motion to accept the proposal.”

At the special meeting, the board could present a motion to accept or reject the proposal.

The next Hellertown Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 12 at 7 p.m.

Representatives from Greystone Capital Inc., a local real estate developer, presented plans to members of the Hellertown Planning Commission on Tuesday for a 142-unit apartment complex on the former Neighbors Home & Garden site. Plans call for the construction of three four-story apartment buildings on the approximately 5.5-acre property on Main Street near Saucon Creek. The developers said they also plan to use the existing buildings on the site for commercial space.

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