Whitehall-Coplay Press

Tuesday, October 22, 2019
PRESS PHOTO BY KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMSThe former Lehigh Valley Dairy building will be demolished, as the long-vacant 10-acre property at 1026 MacArthur Road has a buyer at last. PRESS PHOTO BY KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMSThe former Lehigh Valley Dairy building will be demolished, as the long-vacant 10-acre property at 1026 MacArthur Road has a buyer at last.

At last, a buyer

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS Special to The Press in Local News

Township has sales agreement for dairy site

The former Lehigh Valley Dairy property finally has a buyer.

Whitehall Township Mayor Michael Harakal Jr. announced March 29 the township has an agreement of sale for the long-vacant 10-acre property at 1026 MacArthur Road that once housed the former dairy.

“We can’t reveal the buyer,” Harakal said, “but they have a very good plan for development of the site.”

Because of the dilapidated condition of the 275,000-square-foot concrete building, which has sat vacant for 30 years, Harakal said the structure would have to be demolished.

Harakal said while there are no final plans yet, the property, currently owned by LVD Realty Inc. of Allen Township, would be used for a combination of retail and office structures.

He said the buyer is interested in other nearby properties as well.

Harakal said the deal with the prospective buyer moved quickly, and the first meeting between the buyer, seller and township officials was held only two weeks ago.

“It’s all come together pretty quickly,” he said. “This is on the board of commissioners’ bucket list. I’ve been walking around smiling.”

Harakal said the township and the buyer will meet with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials to discuss changing access to the property.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done on the site,” Harakal added.

He said he anticipated a September completion of the sale for the property located on MacArthur Road between the Route 22 interchange and the Allentown city line.

The township has struggled for decades to find a developer interested in the sprawling property.

“This is the sale we’ve been waiting for for 30 years,” Harakal said. “I believe this transaction will begin a renaissance of the township’s southern corridor.”

The building, renovated from a silk mill, opened as a dairy in 1934 under ownership of the Lehigh Valley Cooperative Farmers and closed in 1989. In its heyday, the dairy was a familiar fixture in the Lehigh Valley with its popular dairy bar. Whitehall High School graduations were held in the four-story Art Deco building.

Since it was abandoned, the building has fallen into disrepair. The southern end of the building had been partially demolished and patched with plywood. There was a partial roof collapse last year and vandals had gotten in and spray painted graffiti in the lobby. Last year, the township issued a notice of violation for the property because the sprinklers were not operational.

Township officials had hoped to preserve the historic building, but Harakal said its condition was too poor to be saved.