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.