Announcing the Real Estate Committee

At last week’s Bethlehem Food Co-op Annual Membership Meeting, the board of directors announced the formation of its real estate committee, which will begin the process of searching for a downtown location for the community-owned grocery store.

Volunteers were specifically invited to serve on the committee from a variety of backgrounds in order to provide well rounded analysis of potential sites.

Committee members include:

  • Earl Bethel: Treasurer of Bethlehem’s Redevelopment Authority, Chairman of the Blighted Properties Commission
  • Joe Narkevic: Associate Engineer at the Stone House Group, specializing in energy efficiency
  • Diane Donaher: Former Deputy Director of Economic Development for the City of Bethlehem and Director of Community & Economic Development, Laros Foundation Trustee, founding Co- Chair of the Non Profit & Business Partners Council of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Heather Terrible: Licensed Real Estate Agent with Grace Realty Co., Inc.
  • Emily Hoffert: Co-Op Board Treasurer, Manager at Jumbars
  • Colleen Marsh: Co-Op Board Chairwoman

The goal of this committee will be to identify and evaluate potential sites within the areas serving Bethlehem food deserts, which include a large portion of the north side downtown and portions of south side.  The Co-Op has recently engaged CDS Consulting Co-Op to put together a financial pro forma for the committee to use as a tool to evaluate sites during the real estate search.

Once the committee identifies a site or two that are seemingly viable, they will make a recommendation to the Co-Op board, and the committee will dissolve. The Co-Op's board will then pursue, via a third party agency specializing in retail grocery stores, a full market study on the location or locations recommended. The study will help the Co-Op determine the feasibility of each location by analyzing a wide variety of factors about the property and surrounding area. The process of selecting the right location is expected to take several months to complete and will be followed by a capital campaign and member loan drive.  

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