CATASAUQUA, Pa. – Catasauqua Borough Council discussed development plans for the former Crane Iron Works property, a 12-acre brownfield along Front Street on Monday night at the Catasauqua Municipal Building.
The borough sold the property to Bethlehem-based developer Dunn Twiggar Co. LLC under the premise it would be redeveloped into a work-life center with residential, office and retail space. However, the borough received a letter from the developer on June 3, terminating the agreement of sale.
Dunn Twiggar was not ready to move from the due diligence period to the approvals period, according to borough Solicitor Thomas Dinkelacker, who spoke during the meeting Monday night.
“Their due diligence was completed fairly early on,” Dinkelacker said. “The primary issue was railroad easements, which we got resolved in December.”
“Beyond due diligence, they (Dunn Twiggar) did not have a lot of responsibilities until the approvals period,” he added.
The borough and Dunn Twiggar met in executive session last month.
Monday night’s meeting became a vetting session for why the deal ultimately dissolved. The meeting featured many individuals at times talking over one another. Some offered accusations, while others relayed opinions ascertaining what did or did not happen. At times, the language was sharp and many individuals opted for emotional responses.
“You have no plan B,” former council President Vincent Smith told council during an exchange.
A special meeting on Iron Works was scheduled June 1, but the meeting was cancelled May 31. This cancellation was discussed at length Monday night and spurred disappointment and even anger from some residents who spoke.
Specifically, they viewed cancellation as an affront to public transparency and a missed opportunity to engage one last time with Dunn Twiggar before the company issue its severance two days later.
Liquor license transfer
In other news, council approved an intermunicipal restaurant liquor license transfer.
The request, from Shuban Enterprice LLC, will transfer the license into the borough to a proposed 822 Race St. location — an existing gas station and convenience store. The store has been there for roughly 14 years.
The applicant will sell six-packs with no advertising for on-premise consumption, although one 12-ounce beer could be consumed on premises, according to the applicant’s attorney.
The building’s footprint will not change, and all the beer coolers will be locked. In addition, there will be a separate cash register to service beer consumers.
Grant for community pool
In other news, council approved a resolution to request a Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program grant of $25,500 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority in the state Department of Community and Economic Development. The grant would be used for the proposed Borough of Catasauqua Community Pool project.