The Allentown Planning Commission unanimously approved creating a zoning district Tuesday to accommodate the $175 million redevelopment of the former Lehigh Structural Steel site.
Zoning is the first of several hurdles that Dunn Twiggar Co. of Hanover Township, Northampton County, must overcome to build The Waterfront, a 26-acre community aimed at opening the Lehigh River for public enjoyment.
The developers intend to begin construction in three years and complete the project in a decade.
Other hurdles include cleaning up pollution and managing traffic.
Initial studies show less contamination than expected.
''I wouldn't eat the dirt down there, but it's much cleaner than anyone anticipated,'' developer Andy Twiggar said.
The Waterfront is anticipated to employ 610 people and generate $6.6 million in taxes, up from 150 jobs and $55,000 in taxes generated by the current industrial businesses.
More on the project.