Lodge, leisure venue proposed for Hamilton Avenue in Allentown

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Allentown Historic Architectural Evaluation Board reviewed plans Monday evening for 2 new developments. Each proposals had been provided by Metropolis Heart Funding Corp.

One calls to demolish the properties at 949-959 Hamilton St. to make approach for a 55,000-square-foot, five-story, 140-room lodge with a ground-story bar and restaurant. The second requires the development of a 30,000-square-foot, two-story leisure venue on a vacant website at 935-937 and 939 Hamilton St.

On Jan. 4, the town’s planning and zoning division denied Metropolis Heart’s demolition utility for the 949-959 Hamilton St. undertaking as a result of metropolis code requires zoning listening to board approval within the Historic Constructing Demolition Management Overlay District.

The property at 949-959 Hamilton St. traditionally consisted of a giant business constructing with a 949-955 Hamilton St. handle, which functioned principally because the Rialto Theater. The mixed-use painted brick constructing that anchors the nook of tenth and Hamilton streets maintained separate possession below the handle of 957-959 Hamilton St.

A 3rd present constructing, beforehand referred to as 11 N. tenth St., was traditionally a non-public residence, however is now linked to the nook constructing via infill constructed within the former rear yard of 957-959 Hamilton St. The person buildings had been consolidated right into a single parcel.

The board obtained info Monday evening relating to the properties proposed for demolition. The previous Rialto Theater constructing was reconstructed in 1946 and 1947, after an April 10, 1946, fireplace that destroyed a piece of the constructing fronting Hamilton Avenue. The rear auditorium survived intact. The constructing additionally had business tenants within the western adjoining storefronts.

Historical past’s Headlines: Inferno on the Rialto It was simply earlier than midnight on April 9, 1946. The “pinboys” on the Recreation Lanes bowling alley in Allentown’s Rialto Constructing at tenth and H…

The rebuilt theater loved success throughout the Nineteen Fifties, however struggled within the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies, earlier than lastly shuttering in 1979. The rear auditorium was demolished within the Nineteen Eighties, and the theater foyer was repurposed.

The 957-959 Hamilton St. constructing’s development dates to the mid-Nineteenth century. The dual constructing traditionally housed a grocer within the western half and a cigar manufacturing facility within the japanese half.

The 11 N. tenth St. property was constructed between 1891 and 1897. A storefront conversion occurred someday within the early twentieth century.

Nonetheless one other constructing — situated at 955 1/2 Hamilton St. — was mentioned Monday evening. This location functioned as a cobbler’s store, though further historic info is proscribed.

Of their report back to the board, HARB employees indicated the historic and architectural significance “varies between the person buildings.”

Traditionally, the Rialto Theater buildings “retains some historic and cultural significance,” because it operated on the metropolis’s first film palace in 1918. Probably the most important interval of the theater’s historical past, nevertheless, rests within the authentic constructing that was destroyed by the 1946 fireplace.

The report famous “as a complete the property holds low architectural significance.” The best worth rests within the 957-959 Hamilton St. property. This was because of the mid-Nineteenth century development date.

The 935-937 and 939 Hamilton St. undertaking would relaxation mid-block between a four-story construction to the east and a six-story construction to the west. Metropolis Heart stated the undertaking would cater to occasions “too small for the PPL Area.”

The constructing could be 5 bays huge and would function an open terrace on the second story, situated behind giant, arched openings. The central marquee would span three bays with a black metallic and glass storefront system.

Of their report back to the board, HARB employees famous with two design exceptions, the proposal “largely complies with tips for brand new development.” This consists of “measurement, scale, massing, supplies, and design.”

Ideas for enchancment centered on growing the majority and peak of the cornice on the entrance façade and putting in a storefront safety system.

Robert DiLorenzo of Metropolis Heart informed the board the power can be accomplished subsequent yr.