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New Allentown apartment building designed as 'net-zero energy'

Former judge Anthony P. LoRusso is wrapping up an Allentown-area apartment project with a focus on green energy and solar power on a former brownfield site.

He expects to open the Allentown Square Apartments next month. The three-story building at 295 Maryland St. will have 59 market-rate apartments.

The $7 million project is designed as a "net-zero energy" building, with rooftop solar panels, Energy Star appliances and lighting, added insulation, triple-pane windows and a special "green" elevator by Otis Corp. There's also an electric-car charging station.

The 44,900-square-foot building includes studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units renting for $955, $1,055 and $1,355 per month, respectively. That's higher than the original projections of $765 and $895 per month for the one- and two-bedroom units, but the units include hardwood floors and granite countertops, plus parking.

The project required extensive remediation by Benchmark Environmental, which disposed of about 3,600 tons of soil and fill materials as part of the state-supervised brownfield cleanup plan. The 1.6-acre site was originally owned by the Whitmore and Ferris highway sign company, followed by Penn Advertising and Lamar Advertising Inc. It was used as a manufacturing facility from the 1920s through 2000, with solvents, petroleum products, paints and other hazardous materials.
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