The inauguration of the Boyd Apartments in January 2024, a multi-family apartment and commercial complex in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is an important urban revitalization effort for the former “Steel Town USA.” PENETRON ADMIX SB, a crystalline concrete waterproofing admixture, was specified to protect key below-grade concrete elements exposed to groundwater.
Located in eastern Pennsylvania along the Lehigh River, close to both Philadelphia and New York, Bethlehem was once known as “Steel Town USA.” When the blast furnaces of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation closed in 1995, this city of 75,000 was hit by hard times. Today, Bethlehem is rebounding from its ‘rust belt’ image, thanks to the city’s relative affordability and its proximity to major urban centers. With its rich colonial history, thriving cultural scene, and outdoor activities, the city was recently ranked one of the “hottest zip codes” by the National Association of Realtor’s website, Realtor.com.
“Built on the site of the historic Boyd Theater, this $55 million redevelopment project was the biggest redevelopment effort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania,” states Richard Farmer, Regional Sales Manager for Penetron USA. “The Boyd Apartments have also become a valuable addition to the city’s stock of affordable apartment housing in the downtown area.”
An iconic symbol of Bethlehem dating back to the days of live vaudeville, the Boyd Theater featured a 1,200-seat theater venue, which later became a movie theater.
Designed by Berardon Architects, the six-story development comprises 205 apartments, 10 Airbnb rental units, (below-grade) underground parking, a swimming pool, an open courtyard, and 5,000 ft2 (455 m2) of commercial space. The new red brick exterior of the complex draws inspiration from the surrounding historic architecture and incorporates the Boyd’s iconic red theater signs.
Because of the groundwater levels encountered at the construction site, Monocacy General Contracting mandated a reliable and permanent waterproofing solution for elevator pits. Penetron worked with Rahns Concrete, the ready-mix concrete supplier, to provide an effective – and long-lasting – waterproofing solution for this key below-grade concrete structure.
“Thanks to our relationship with the ready-mix concrete supplier and the performance of Penetron products in similar projects, PENETRON ADMIX SB was specified for the project,” adds Richard Farmer. “Finally, the proximity to our manufacturing plant next door in Allentown and the next-day delivery saved money on freight costs.”
Added to concrete in premeasured soluble bags during batching and unaffected by climatic conditions, PENETRON ADMIX SB significantly increases the durability and service life of concrete. Thanks to the non-soluble crystalline network that forms throughout the pores and capillary tracts of the concrete, the treated structure now has the ability to self-heal and seal any micro-cracks, pores and capillaries that may occur in the future, minimizing the need for any future concrete repairs.