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Former Whitaker Street Playground Property for Sale

Hellertown Borough Council solicitor Michael Corriere said it's unclear whether the owners of a parcel at 1400 Whitaker Street plan to develop the self-storage facility they won approval to build in 2008. The property was listed for sale on Sept. 8

It's unclear whether a self-storage facility will be constructed on land near the closed High Street Bridge in Hellertown, solicitor Michael Corriere told Borough Council Oct. 1.

The vacant property at West High and Whitaker streets was once the site of a public playground, but its owners ultimately decided to pursue its commercial development after a lease agreement with the borough ended.

Corriere said a proposal to construct a self-storage facility on the parcel--which is owned by J & M Birk Inc. of Lower Saucon Township, according to Northampton County property records--was approved in 2008.

According to the county records, a sale price of $280,000 for the lot was recorded on Jan. 2, 2008.

The development plan that was later approved by council was amended in 2009, but research indicates it was never formally recorded, Corriere said.

Whether or not J & M Birk Inc. plans to construct the three-building storage facility is a concern now that City of Bethlehem engineers working on the High Street bridge replacement project are looking for right-of-way on West High Street adjacent to the property, borough manager Cathy Kichline explained.

The 102-year-old High Street bridge has been closed to traffic since June 2011, but plans are to replace it with a new structure.

Corriere said the property owner has five years to follow through on his plan before losing the right to develop without having to begin the process over again.

Although its current status wasn't discussed at the meeting, a search of real estate listings indicates that the 1.7 acre property at 1400 Whitaker Street was listed for sale for $400,000 on Sept. 8, 2012.

The listing states that the lot "is a good location for self storgage (sic) and is located in (an) industial (sic) zoning area."

Its "owner is in (the) prosess (sic) of engineering (the) property," the listing states.

sue October 09, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Is this the property that is a "reclaimed" junk yard? I have spoken to several residents that remember cars being buried here. How is this approved by the EPA?

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