Hockey stadium to replace Nazareth

UPDATE A developer proposing an arena and entertainment complex at the shuttered Nazareth Speedway site estimates his project will generate more than $5 million a year in local government revenue.

Abraham Atiyeh on Wednesday night shared his vision of the Nazareth Family Fun & Entertainment Complex with the township's board of supervisors and stressed he wants to bring in nationally-recognized food and entertainment chains to support his dream.

Atiyeh is seeking state money to pay for half of the $30 million cost of the arena, which he hopes will serve as the home for a professional hockey team. He's also looking at another location in Allentown, but has said the 157-acre closed speedway at Routes 191 and 248 is his first choice. More at Penn-Live

04/24/05 The vision is grand: a $30 million dome that would house minor league hockey and host top performers, with high-end restaurants, luxury condominiums and townhouses nearby. The site: home of the former Nazareth Speedway.

Local developer Abraham Atiyeh said Friday he has signed a letter of intent to buy the 157 acres in Lower Nazareth Township for $19 million to make his vision a reality. The plan hinges on whether he can get public and private financing, and Lower Nazareth zoning approval.

''We think it's going to be one of the best entertainment facilities in the Lehigh Valley,'' Atiyeh said. ''Our mixed-use facility will be different than anyone else's. We're not looking for retail, and it'll be family-oriented. That gives us a special blend.''

Weichert Commercial Brokerage of Bethlehem, hired to sell the property, did not return calls Friday seeking comment. Nor did International Speedway Corp. of Daytona, Fla., which owns the speedway.

On Tuesday, a group of local officials including state Rep. Craig Dally, Northampton County Executive Glenn Reibman and representatives of state Sens. Lisa Boscola and Robert Wonderling met at Atiyeh's request at his Whitehall Manor, an assisted-living community in Whitehall Township. Atiyeh and his associates told them about his plans.

The project centers on an 8,000-seat Monolithic Dome, so named by Monolithic Constructors Inc., the Texas company that builds it. Atiyeh hopes its primary tenant would be an American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Rangers or New Jersey Devils. He expressed confidence the sport would find a fan base in the Lehigh Valley. Morning Call

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