The City of Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone is being recognized as one of the top 13 projects of its kind in the world!
The Urban Land Institute has awarded the NIZ a 2017-2018 Global Award for Excellence. The awards program is designed to “identify and promote best practices in all types of real estate development.” It had been designated as a Top 25 finalist this past spring.
This is not the first time the Urban Land Institute has touted Allentown’s success. In April 2016, the ULI recognized the city as one of six transforming communities across the United States.
According to a news release from the ULI, “Allentown is the fastest-growing city in the state, thanks in large part to an innovative state law that created the Neighborhood Improvement Zone. Since its completion in 2014 by the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority, the Arena Block redevelopment has been the catalyst for extensive additional private development, led by City Center Investment Corp. City Center’s major mixed-use development, City Center Lehigh Valley, is helping reposition the downtown as a regional center for business, culture, and metropolitan living.”
The NIZ is a state legislature-approved one-of-a-kind tax district where all local and state tax revenues with the exception of real estate taxes can be used to pay for construction projects in the zone. It is centered on the PPL Center, a 10,000 seat hockey and concert arena on the northwest corner of Seventh & Hamilton streets. It has spawned $1 billion in new investment and brought thousands of jobs to the city.
“This is quite an honor and comes from one of the most widely respected organizations in the world, said Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “Being placed on an equal footing with other projects known around the nation and the world is very significant.”
The international ULI competition is overseen by a jury composed of ULI members from around the world who are recognized leaders in their fields. Each winner receives a jewel-quality cube trophy, engraved with the jury’s official statement about the winning project.
The project is scheduled to be recognized at the PPL Center on Friday, November 17 at halftime of the men’s basketball game between Villanova and Lafayette. The trophy will be presented at a later date.
Eights of the award winners are projects in the United States, two in Canada and Asia and one in Europe. The U.S. winners include University Center-The New School in New York City, Chicago Riverwalk and Milwaukee Riverwalk.
The Urban Land Institute was established in 1936 and has more than 40,000 members worldwide.