Since the days when C.F. Martin built the first Martin Guitar (1839) and the first cement mill began operation (1898), businesses and people have prospered. These businesses recognized the tradition of hard work present in local residents and created satisfactory jobs, making the Nazareth-Bath area an economically stable region. Economic development has historically been a priority of municipal officials. The goal has been to maintain a balance between residential and business growth and the availability of open space. As the country’s economic development shifted away from manufacturing years later, the Nazareth-Bath area was able to maintain most of its industries while diversifying into other support businesses such as service establishments, retail stores, wholesale facilities and professionals that complemented other industries. Today, the major employers and small family-owned businesses enjoy the same benefits and continue to grow and prosper together.
An ideal location is a significant economic advantage for the Nazareth-Bath area, situated in the Lehigh Valley area in eastern Pennsylvania. The area is fortunate to have a coordinated and improved highway system. Routes 191 and 248 intersect in Nazareth and lead to Routes 22 and 33, which connect Nazareth area businesses to markets in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton. Route 512 traverses Bath and connects with Routes 22, 248 and 33. I-78 is easily accessible from the Nazareth-Bath area.
A variety of land sites and buildings are available and are suitable for new businesses and expansions. Storefronts in historic areas, and even historic buildings and land are available in well-planned and organized industrial parks.
Financing and site selection opportunities are available from numerous economic development organizations in the Lehigh Valley including Northampton County, Nazareth Economic Development Commission, Nazareth Loan Pool and the Nazareth-Bath Area Chamber of Commerce.
Northampton County is comprised of 38 incorporated municipalities. Six of these — the boroughs of Nazareth, Tatamy and Stockertown, and Upper Nazareth, Lower Nazareth, and Bushkill townships — are generally considered the Greater Nazareth area and served by the Nazareth Area School System, the Bath Borough area is serviced by the Nazareth-Bath Area Chamber of Commerce. The total assessed valuation of taxable property within these seven municipalities as of 2005 was approximately $717 million. The area also accounts for 32,406 acres or 13.3 percent of the total 243,044 acres in Northampton County.
The remaining acreage in each community is made up of a mix of wholesaling, warehousing, transportation, utilities, communications, parks and recreation, public and quasi-public areas. All municipalities currently have a comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance, and subdivision regulations in place. The Nazareth Area Council of Governments is currently developing a 10-municipality comprehensive regional plan.
During the decade of the 1990s and early 21st century housing growth was dramatic and far exceeded the commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s growth rate. During the 1990s, significant acreage in Lehigh Valley went to residential development and other uses. The greatest potential for residential expansion in the Nazareth-Bath area lies in the townships of Bushkill, Upper Nazareth and Lower Nazareth, which account for 29,826 acres of the 32,406 total. The vast majority of new construction in these townships is single-family residences. As of November 2014, the average sale price of a home in the Nazareth-Bath Area was $262,986. In the townships, the requirements for on-site septic systems and/or well water systems, requiring one-acre lots plus, will most likely make multi-unit housing improbable.
Land use for retail/commercial enterprises is generally on par with communities of similar size and population in Northampton County and can be fairly small in the Nazareth area. With an increase in residential development, there is a tendency for a corresponding increase in retail- and service-oriented businesses. At the present time, many small businesses flourish in the Nazareth area. Many are specialty stores and service-related enterprises. Northampton Crossings Mall in Lower Nazareth Township and Giant Plaza in Lower Nazareth Township are the two major shopping areas with 60,000 square feet or more.
After several years of planning, Charles Chrin Companies is proud to announce that The Chrin Commerce Center has 11 light industrial and office lots, featured as Phase I, representing the first acreage available for sale in the 800-acre Chrin Commerce Center. This multi-phase project surrounds a proposed Route 33 interchange, while convenient access exists via recent infrastructure improvements.
Phase II and III propose a town center and a campus that are designated for commercial office space, retail operations and upper-story loft accommodations. Tree-lined streets, attractive lighting and an extension to an existing bike path are among the many planned green-space features and amenities.
The retail, commercial office and light industrial facilities will provide employment opportunities for local residents. Apartments, integrated with office and retail spaces will offer a housing alternative not widely available in Tatamy. Office and retail services will diversify the borough’s economy and increase tax revenues. Light industrial and commercial office facilities will expand the townships economy. Office and retail services will service local residents as well as the surrounding region.