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Costco Plans Detailed

Developers looking to build Hamilton Crossings in Lower Macungie -- which will feature the area's first Costco -- are seeking some zoning variances from the township.

If all goes well, the developers of Hamilton Crossings in Lower Macungie hope to break ground a year from now on the 63-acre shopping center that will include the area's first Costco

Last week, representatives of The Goldenberg Group based in Blue Bell showed Lower Macungie Township commissioners several renderings of their plans for the shopping center proposed for land between Hamilton Boulevard and the Route 222 Bypass. Krocks Road runs through the middle of it.

Most of the land is open space owned by the Catholic Diocese of Allentown. The developers are seeking several variances to township zoning laws that deal with regulations about such aspects as the height of fencing and the size of buffers.

While showing the renderings, Jeremy Fogel, executive vice president of The Goldenberg Group, said Hamilton Crossings will have 2 1/2 miles of walking and biking paths, as well as gathering spots with park benches and tables.

"We are looking to provide the township with a central gathering place for the community," Fogel said. 

The shopping center is expected to have about 25 restaurants and stores, with Costco and Target as anchors.  

Fogel says that the development project is contingent on getting govenment assistance known as Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, to pay for the development's infrastructure and remediation of the property from waste created by iron mining.

He's asking that a portion of the $1.4 million the shopping center is expected to generate in taxes go toward paying for that mining remediation of the property and infrastructure. Under TIF, those taxes would still be collected from the shopping center but part of them would help pay the bonds that fund the construction of the shopping center.

Lower Macungie doesn't have a property tax; it gets its funding from earned income tax and real estate transfer taxes, according to Cassandra Williams, township director of finance. 

The developers are also seeking TIF help from East Penn School District and Lehigh County, both of which rely on property taxes for revenue. 

The request for variances from the township zoning ordinance is scheduled to be heard by the township Zoning Hearing Board on Nov. 27.   

Carl W November 26, 2012 at 05:17 AM
The h(eck) with the Diocese. We'll have traffic & congestion, and can buy God at Costco !!!
Carl W November 26, 2012 at 05:20 AM
We'll just put in more bypasses & maybe even cloverleafs! Get rid of some of the homes & more 6-8 lanes. Not only will we get to follow, at night we'll get to listen to all the trucks & cars !!!
Carl W November 26, 2012 at 05:21 AM
Carl W 12:20 am on Monday, November 26, 2012 We'll just put in more bypasses & maybe even cloverleafs! Get rid of some of the homes & more 6-8 lanes. Not only will we get to follow, at night we'll get to listen to all the trucks & cars !!!
careless fills December 01, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Two points of information about Costco that have made the news recently, once yesterday and the other two months ago and amplified yesterday: 1) Costco has just announced a large, one-time cash dividend of retained earnings in order to get the money out to investors in 2012 under current tax rates, instead of in later years when dividend taxes are scheduled to more than double under the fiscal cliff. 1.1) This raises the question of why should LC and ESPD taxpayers subsidize this company that has the money to invest, but chooses at the same time to instead to uncapitalize itself? This capital will most likely be hoarded in banks by Costco's shareholders, since they think its better to have it out of the company (and the economy). So much for stimulus and Quantitative Easing. 2) Jim Senegal, the co-founder and former CEO of Costco spoke to the main assembly at the Democrat convention in September. And just recently, Joe Biden infamously attended the grand opening of a Costco in Maryland. 2.1) Those connexions are now apparent and out in the open, but what good does that do for the rest of us? What should LC and EPSD (not to mention LMT, which by the way has no property tax to subsidize this and no municipal police force to patrol it) be thinking about this? Sounds like everyone will be subsidizing LMT, a Republican stronghold! How ironic.
William deMauriac December 26, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Why on earth must we even entertain the idea of giving our tax dollars to finance this project. It is inherently wrong to use tax revenue to build retail stores. This is a gross injustice to the taxpayers. There is no reason theses developers need our money, only to fatten there pockets. They have the money, the only reason they are asking because they know without public outcry they will get it. This has been going on for many years and that is the core reason to all our budget shortfalls. Residents need to be vocal and must be informed and allowed in these meetings. After all, it is our money they want to give away.

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