Vista gains first site plan approval

Vista Blvd. and one office building to be first round of construction

The first of many site plan applications for the Vista Technology Campus has been inked by the Bethlehem Planning Board.

The approval, unanimously issued on Tuesday, Feb. 1, clears the way for developers to start building Vista Boulevard and erect a 40,000-square-foot office building at the end of that road, about 3/4 of a mile from Route 85.

The Planning Board will be taking another look at plans for that first structure before a building permit is issued, though. There were some concerns about the design for Vista's inaugural structure being too plain.

Even though this building is 3/4 of a mile off the road, it is the first building, Planning Board member John Smolinsky said. "It's the first building tenants are going to see when they come to the parkthis is what they're going to see when you show them the site, so it's important that it's not typical."

Joe Nicolla of Columbia Development said the first tenant (still unnamed) wouldn't sign on to a more expensive structure. Plus, he argued, the mere existence of Vista' first building will be proof enough to tenants that the campus is the place to be.

He also noted there are several dozen other buildings on the park's plans, and many of those closer to the road will see more interesting architecture.

"As we come back down, we know there's going to be a lot more articulation of the buildings," Nicolla said.

Nicolla also emphasized to the Planning Board, as he has to other town entities, that speed is of the essence when it comes to Vista development.

"We have to get this first phase done," he said. "If we can get these first couple people, they're going to fall right in."

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