City of Bethlehem

Office of Economic Development

The City of Bethlehem's Office of Economic Development encourages business location and expansion through technical and site selection assistance and financial programs. The office serves as liaison with Federal, State, and City officials and private institutions on behalf of business in related development matters.

The Strength of the Lehigh Valley Region Depends on the Vibrancy of Its Cities!

For more information, please contact:
Denise Fahr
10 East Church St., Bethlehem, PA 18018-6025

Ph. (610) 865-7085 Fax (610) 865-7330

The Department consists of:

Alicia Miller Karner
Director of Community and Economic Development

Denise Fahr
Administrative Assistant to Alicia Miller Karner

How to Contact us

PHONE: (610) 865-7085
(610) 865-7310

Department of Community & Economic Development
10 East Church St., Bethlehem, PA 18018-6025

Community Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ)

CRIZ Guidelines [PDF]


CRIZ Parcel Map

Services and programs available through staff support:

  • Site Location Assistance: We maintain an inventory of available land and buildings, and work with businesses to realize the potential of their properties. Through our work with organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Business Association, and Historic Bethlehem Partnership, we promote the quality of life and business in the City of Bethlehem.
  • Technical Assistance: We work with entrepreneurs and business owners in developing their business ideas. Let our experienced staff guide you through the vast number of State financing programs and grants available to business. We can assist with applications and compiling documentation needed to secure funding. Other assistance includes help with determining licenses, permits and regulatory requirements, available financing, workforce development, and other steps necessary to build and maintain a vibrant business climate.
  • Fund for Revitalization and Economic Development: Known as FRED, this is low-interest "gap" financing to businesses creating and/or retaining employment opportunities for low- to moderate-income City residents, or removing slum, and blight.
  • Facade Program: This is a low-interest loan for restoring storefronts and building facades in designated business districts.
  • Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance: Known as LERTA, this tax abatement program creates a graduated increase in tax payments on new construction and property rehabilitation for owners of commercial, industrial, and business properties located within designated zones in the City, including the Enterprise Zone.
  • Enterprise Zone Incentives: Certain zones in the City of Bethlehem are targeted by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to encourage private investment, promote job growth and economic development. PaDCED authorizes tax credits for certain specified Pennsylvania taxes to private companies making qualified investments in rehabilitating, expanding, or improving buildings or land in designated Enterprise Zones. Loans are available for property and building acquisition, renovation, and machinery and equipment purchase carry an interest rate of 3.75% for businesses located within the Enterprise Zone.
  • Bethlehem Loan Pool: This financial pool is used to foster and assist development, renewal, and improvement of businesses. To retain and create jobs, sub-prime interest financing is offered for economically viable businesses to locate, expand, or remain in the City. Loan funds may be used for property acquisition, new construction, building renovation and rehabilitation, and the purchase of machinery and equipment. All applicants must be located in or relocating to the City of Bethlehem. Preference is given to applicants who are locating their business in targeted areas in the City including Bethlehem's Enterprise Zone. The maximum loan amount is 40% of eligible costs, with a minimum of $100,000 up to a maximum of $2,000,000. Specific loan programs include:
  • Emerging Growth Companies: To assist relatively new companies experiencing growth.
  • Commercial/Industrial Real Estate: To assist developers, businesses, and industries in developing real estate in targeted areas of the City.
  • Business Expansion and Retention: To encourage Bethlehem businesses to remain in the City and expand operations and employment.
  • Entrepreneurial: To provide assistance to higher-risk businesses that meet general program criteria and provide compelling reasons to locate or expand in the City by virtue of the number of jobs created, targeted location, or some other benefit to the City.

The City of Bethlehem is an ideal choice for businesses to consider when locating or expanding. You'll find:

  • Skilled and diverse labor pool
  • Access to major highways, linking the Lehigh Valley to the north, south, east and west
  • Railway connections
  • Respected primary and secondary school system
  • Home to Lehigh University and Moravian College
  • High quality hospitals and health care
  • Well-developed infrastructure
  • Affordable and convenient utilities, water and sewer
  • Safe, comfortable, well planned neighborhoods
  • Two successful downtowns

Contact us for assistance in building or expanding your business today!

Business Start-up Guide
Bethlehem: It's happening here (Video)
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