23 Aug 2014
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What Goes in One Bethlehem Plaza's First Floor?

Vacant coffee shop on first floor of Bethlehem's 'urban renewal' tower needs a new retailer or eatery.

What Goes in One Bethlehem Plaza's First Floor? What Goes in One Bethlehem Plaza's First Floor? What Goes in One Bethlehem Plaza's First Floor?


The 11-story One Bethlehem Plaza at 1 W. Broad St. has always enjoyed a sort of dubious distinction of being the biggest and highest-profile building of the city’s short-lived and ultimately scrapped “urban renewal” effort of the 1970s.

A steel, brick and glass monolith amid mostly 19th and early 20th Century buildings on the eastern side of downtown, it is the largest building in the city’s North Side core, with nearly 120,000 square feet of office space.

On the first floor of this tower sits a storefront that building real estate broker CB Richard Ellis of Allentown hopes to lease to a restaurant or retailer. See a CBRE building brochure.

What goes here Bethlehem? Tell us in the comments.

It has been nearly two years since the Rock n’ Joe Coffee Lounge and Bistro occupied the space, which can be entered from the building’s interior or its odd and seldom-used outdoor plaza, which can be accessed from both Broad and New streets.

The bad news for a potential retailer or restaurateur is that there is lots of vacant space all around.

About a quarter of the tower itself is vacant. There are also lots of vacancies in the similarly anomalous modern buildings of the rest of the “urban renewal” block on the south side of Broad. And even on the north side of Broad, there are several vacant storefronts east of the still-shuttered Boyd Theatre.

The good news is that nearly 90,000 square feet of office space inside the tower is occupied and the bustling Historic Downtown and Main Street is a short enough walk away.

There is also the fact that the rest of the block enjoys that hard-to-quantify quality called “potential,” especially in the still-vacant storefronts of the recently renovated Farr Building across Broad Street.

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