Northampton Press

Sunday, September 15, 2019
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4714 building, 1204 Main St., is now owned by Abra Development, of Whitehall.Press file photo The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4714 building, 1204 Main St., is now owned by Abra Development, of Whitehall.Press file photo

VFW confirms Post 4714 building sold

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 by AL RECKER Special to The Press in Local News

Commander says council, zoning board did ‘injustice’ in rejecting appeal

The historic Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4714 building, 1204 Main St., has been sold to Abra Development, of Whitehall, for an undisclosed amount.

VFW Post 4714 Commander Larry Schlittler confirmed the property transfer, stating the sale took place two weeks ago.

“The sale of the building at 1204 Main St., Northampton, is completed,” he said. “With the sale, the VFW Home Association of the Post, which owned the site, will dissolve. No canteen operations for its active and social members will continue.”

It was previously reported the bar area at Post 4714 would close due to challenges with the day-to-day operations and an aging membership.

Post 4714 will still hold its meetings at the iconic structure. The building has been home to the VFW since its founding after World War II. There will be a room for the uniforms, equipment and rifles used by its honor squad. The large howitzer gracing the front exterior will remain in place as long as the VFW functions at the site.

“There were a number of factors that led to this point,” Schlittler said.

He noted the most outstanding factor was that for the past 30 years, veterans returning from war were not joining the VFW.

“The veterans of World War II and Korea are gone and Vietnam veterans are aging — late 60s and into their 70s,” he noted. “This Post has experienced that problem.”

Schlittler reported that, for now, the VFW group remains open and active for veterans and the community, but its future at the site is unclear.

“It is my own belief, not the VFW organization, that borough council and the zoning board did an injustice to VFW Post 4714 and the residents of Northampton by not approving a zoning change for a new business to come into Northampton,” he added. “With an agreement in place, Post 4714 would have a site within the building going forward.”

On June 12, the zoning hearing board, backed by Northampton Borough Council, rejected Abra’s appeal on a 2-2 tie vote. Abra requested a variance to include food processing with potential retail sales. The developer has not indicated any future plans for the building.

Post 4714 will continue with its Voice of Democracy contest for students, the flag retirement program and the Northampton Joint Veterans Association Memorial Day program.