The city Planning Commission on Thursday unanimously approved plans by the Bethlehem Moravians to build a new nursing home that will specialize in caring for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease.
The 86-bed “memory care” facility will be built on the east side of Stefko Boulevard near Broad Street on a 2.75-acre piece of land that includes the property where the once-popular Minsi Trail Inn restaurant used to operate.
The four-story building will also include space for two private doctor’s offices.
The new nursing home will be an expansion of sorts for Moravian Village – a retirement community just west of Stefko Boulevard along Wood Street, which has 248 independent living units and 118 nursing units.
The hope is to begin construction of the new nursing home by the summer with an opening late in 2013, according to David M. Roth, the executive director of Moravian Village.
The building will be of masonry construction with stucco and metal panels, said Scott Pidcock of the Pidcock Co., Allentown civil engineers and architects. Construction is expected to cost about $20 million.
The project did not require much discussion on the part of the commission, which was given an unqualified recommendation of approval by city planning staff.
There was some mild objection offered by associates of developer and competing nursing home operator Abraham Atiyeh, who had contested this project before the Zoning Hearing Board and unsuccessfully challenged that board’s approval in court.
Attorney William Malkames offered up an obscure technical objection while David Hart, vice president of Pennsylvania Venture Capital, an Atiyeh company, claimed that the 45 parking spaces proposed for the home’s parking lot would be insufficient.
Forty-five spaces are enough under the city’s planning code, however.