What’s next for Goodman Furniture’s dilapidated building

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Plans to rehabilitate a long ravaged south Bethlehem the construction of a mix of commercial spaces and apartments is progressing.

The city’s Historic Conservation Commission is expected to review plans for the former Goodman Furniture building, 30-32 E. Third St., Monday evening. The developer plans to build an annex on vacant land and anchor the project with commercial space on the first floor and 12 apartments on the upper floors.

The high-profile East Third Street building has upset Bethlehem officials for years as the former owner, the late Lehigh University professor Alvin Kanofsky, refused to deal with a leaking roof and a crumbling mortar which caused mold and extreme deterioration of the building. At one point, Bethlehem paid $ 137,000 to repair the stucco on the building to prevent it from falling and injuring anyone.

The city declared the building ravaged in 2016 and Kanofsky appealed to Northampton County Court. After a lengthy legal battle, the city was named in January 2017 as curator of the ruined building and adjacent vacant lot that Kanofsky bought in 1986.

Collaboration 3, a partnership between D’Huy Engineering Inc., Alloy 5 Architecture and Skepton Construction, has been named the promoter of a city call for proposals. C3 now owns the property, but Bethlehem remains the curator, overseeing the rehabilitation, said Alicia Miller Karner, city director of community and economic development.

The building is now waterproof with a new roof and it is structurally stabilized, according to the developer. All mold and environmental issues are also solved. Design plans are complete and its city permit applications are under review, C3 said.

The building is located in a historic district and in the central business district of the South Side, which means that the first floor is to be used as commercial space. Its exterior is subject to historical guidelines. C3 last appeared before the Historical Commission in September 2018.

The project received $ 1 million from the state Redevelopment assistance capital program funding and has another $ 1 million request pending.

The March 2021 RACP app notes that construction costs for the project have increased 185% due to supply chain issues related to the coronavirus pandemic and labor and material shortages. As a historic building and adaptive reuse, the rehabilitation already entails higher construction costs than a typical project, notes the demand.

“Commercial spaces on the ground floor are best suited to restaurant or retail tenants,” says the RACP application. “The project will renovate a horrific building and bring a key property back to the tax roll while creating space for contractors and residents.

A key property of the South Bethlehem Arts District, the building borders the South Bethlehem Greenway and is one block from the New Street parking lot.

The existing building is expected to house commercial space with a retail outlet or restaurant on the ground floor and offices above, depending on demand.

“The all-commercial space is designed to attract creative and tech companies from Bethlehem’s proximity to Lehigh Valley colleges and universities, particularly Lehigh,” demand says.

The historical commission meets at 6 p.m. on Monday at Bethlehem Town Hall, 10 E. Church St.

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Sara K. Satullo can be reached at [email protected].


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