A senior living facility proposed for a former lumberyard in Allentown received preliminary approval from the city’s Planning Commission on Tuesday.

Madison Gardens, a proposed 100-unit facility for people ages 62 and older, would be built by Home Leasing LLC of Rochester, N.Y., on Gordon Street on the site of the former Ritter & Smith lumberyard. The majority of units would have one bedroom, but 10 would have two bedrooms, officials said.

Plans call for the units to be entered through the interior of the building, but the exterior would have a variety of facades in the style of existing town homes in the area, officials said. Residents would have use of several common rooms and a community garden.

Bill Struzzi, a project director for Home Leasing, said his company owns and operates several senior housing facilities in New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Construction on the Allentown project, which would be Home Leasing’s first in the Lehigh Valley, could begin by summer 2014. Residents could occupy the space by 2015, Struzzi said.

Allentown has contributed $439,000 toward the project, and the company is seeking additional funds from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Struzzi said.

Leo Bernabucci, a representative for the nearby Liberty Park shops, spoke in favor of the project. Residents will be within walking distance of a CVS Pharmacy and several restaurants, he said.

“We are 100 percent behind this,” he said.

The Planning Commission must grant final approval for the project before construction can begin.
Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-ritter-and-smith-senior-living-facility-20130814,0,5563355.story#ixzz2c2AhSgzU
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