H&LA Development Update: Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

H&LA’s recent research for a project in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania revealed some exciting new hospitality-related developments happening in the area. These developments will have a major impact on tourism, employment, and the general economy in the Lehigh Valley area in 2020 and beyond.

  • In 2019, Site Selection magazine ranked the Lehigh Valley area one of the top five fastest growing regions among metropolitan areas in the U.S. with between 200,000 and one million residents. It was also ranked the fastest growing region in the Northeast in its size category for the third straight year. These distinctions recognize the area’s recent economic success and should serve to promote future growth and development across the Lehigh Valley.
  • The former Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem and surrounding land were recently purchased by the Alabama-based Poarch Band of Creek Indians for $1.3 billion, and the casino has since been rebranded as the Wind Creek Bethlehem. The new owners have announced plans to invest about $190 million in hotel, event space, and amenity expansions, which will include the addition of a new indoor waterpark resort.
  • In October 2019, Lehigh University broke ground on a new $145 million Health, Science & Technology building at the corner of Morton and Webster Streets. Scheduled to open in 2021, this 190,000-square-foot building will house the university’s College of Health. This major project is part of the university’s “Path to Prominence” initiative, aimed at increasing undergraduate and graduate enrollment by 1,800 students over the next several years.
  • Payroll processing company ADP opened a new office campus in downtown Allentown in October 2019. The company now occupies 10 floors of the 13-story Five City Center office tower, consolidating several former Lehigh Valley offices into one central location. In all, ADP’s downtown Allentown office will house about 1,000 employees.
  • In 2020, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown will open the new beach-themed Seaside Splashworks, a multi-level play structure featuring six water slides, water cannons, interactive spray jets, and a giant tipping bucket. In 2019, the park introduced a new seasonal attraction called Monster Jam Thunder Alley, giving guests up-close access to real monster trucks from mid-September to early November.
  • Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania, unveiled a major expansion in May 2019. Highlights include 100 new hotel rooms and a 21,000-square-foot event center. The Mount Airy expansion represented a total investment of about $40 million and created 200 new jobs at the property.
  • Beverage company Keurig Dr Pepper recently announced plans to move operations into the 92-acre former Kraft-Heinz property in Upper Macungie Township, Pennsylvania, just west of Allentown. The company plans to invest nearly $220 million in manufacturing and logistics space, creating up to 400 full-time jobs over the next three years.
  • A new four-million-square-foot logistics park called Bridge Point 78 is now under development at the former Ingersoll Rand site in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, about 12 miles northeast of Bethlehem. The 381-acre site was purchased by Bridge Development Partners LLC for $43 million in February 2019. This massive project is expected to create thousands of new jobs over the next several years.