Developers held a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday for the Madison Farms project that will bring 837 new homes and a new cluster of shops along Freemansburg Avenue in Bethlehem Township.
The new shops will be anchored by a ShopRite supermarket that is expected to create 300 new full- and part-time jobs and open early in 2015. The first phase of project construction also includes 294 luxury rental units, which are expected to be completed in the summer of 2015.
The development will also include single-family homes, townhomes and carriage homes. A variety of dining establishments, shops and convenience stores are expected to fill out the remainder of the available retail space in the 100-acre development, which is situated across Freemansburg Avenue from the Anderson Campus of St. Luke’s University Hospital, near Route 33.
Developers have also planned for 35 acres of open space, including neighborhood parks, landscaped pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths.
“Throughout the planning process we placed a keen focus on designing an environment that would cultivate a community and neighborhood feel,” said Jonathan Kushner, president of KRE Group, one of the developers behind the project.
“Our architects and planners have done a tremendous job in that regard and I think the final result will be something special for the region.”
KRE Group and The Silverman Group—two of the largest privately held real estate companies in New Jersey—partnered in the project.
“This project has gone through a long and winding road since the early 2000s,” said Paul Weiss, chairman of Bethlehem Township Commissioners.
The parcel of land and developers have changed hands since the project was first proposed under the name of Wagner Farms more than 10 years ago. Over time, the details of the project have also shifted as the name of the development changed to Field of Dreams and ultimately Madison Farms.
“I think the township is very excited about this project, very excited about the ShopRite,” Weiss said.
This will be the first ShopRite in the Lehigh Valley, though it’s corporate sister, PriceRite—a limited assortment, discount supermarket chain—has stores in West Bethlehem and South Allentown.