Jun 27, 2008

Xertek Throws in Towel

Xertek, the well respected and equipped fitness center at 10th and Hamilton has closed, victim of the Parking Authority. Since the meter increase, he has lost hundreds of members. For most members, the cost of parking and fines exceeded the cost of membership. The meter and fine rate were doubled in 2005 to finance the Parking Deck at 6th and Linden, to support a slogan called the Arts District. The Lanta terminal was added to the deck to help finance the project. The consequences of this project has been devastating to Hamilton Street and the long term interest of the taxpayers. Ironically, next to the vacating gym, the city just gave a new cell phone store owner twenty thousand to open. As a activist and candidate I opposed the meter increase, Pawlowski endorsed it. Although our Mayor keeps referring to a vision of Allentown moving forward, the private money investors are packing up. On my previous posting, concerning Rite Aid, several apologists for the Mayor keep their faith. One claims the 7th St. Eckerd is 6.5 blocks away, not 10. Tell you what my friend, go to the Hamilton Street store, and then walk to the 7th St. store, it's a long way from 8th and Hamilton to 7th and Allen. Xertek will now be located at 15th and Green Streets, with plenty of free parking. The owner invested 9 years and $300,000 on to Hamilton Street, I thanked him for that.


Anonymous said...

How many businesses have to leave Hamilton before a MAYDAY alert is sent out ? This is REALLY getting out of hand. It almost seems like a movie-like conspiracy or an episode of the TWILIGHT ZONE except the true irony and horror is that this is OUR reality . (Please cue the dramatic exit music)


michael molovinsky said...

alfonso, what's really sad is the apologists. they say the federal grill had slow service, rite aid built too many stores, etc, they just won't recognize although the taxpayers invested 10 million in grants, pawlowski remains clueless about business. although they will hate me for it, here's the truth behind the koolaid. most of the apologists live in center city, and have too much invested to concede pawlowski doesn't know what he's doing.

Anonymous said...

Well, I hope that THIS is NOT a case where ROME is burning and Ceaser continues to play the violin. There is too much at stake to play games with people's livelihoods and reputations.


Anonymous said...

Just posted a similar post on Bernie's blog, but felt the same point needs to be made here:

I know there's alot going on in Allentown, but as regards businesses closing, please remember what's going on with the economy.

As an example, Emmaus, a very stable community, has at least 4 major vacancies in their downtown, all of which closed in the past 6-9 months.

I'm not saying Pawlowski isn't screwing things up (he is, royally), but that's not the only thing going on here.

Anonymous said...

Finally, Ed's myopic focus on one area of Allentown is paying off. By gathering his resources in one "golden rectangle," he has fortunately prevented a more balanced structure to the revitalization of The City. It was close there for a few years with small art and culture centers popping up but by actively working against these "organic," privately funded efforts, Ed and his gang were able to district off areas thereby denying the thriving areas of exposure, funds, and life. Now that Hamilton Street, The Arts District (aka Hamilton Street), The Financial District (aka Hamilton Street), The Judicial District (aka Hamilton Street) and "The Theater District" (eventually to be moved to Hamilton Street) is beginning to take off, the balance that would have been achieved by supporting other areas of Allentown is not necessary. All those businesses not located in the "golden rectangle" of The City of Hamilton Street "can either get on board or else it's just sour grapes"!

Anonymous said...


Each day, after delusionally promoting Allentown, the author will head uptown at around 6:00 pm for a workout at Xertek. She'll then be able to stop into Rite Aid for some personal hygiene products prior to a wonderful dinner at the Federal Grill. At around 10:00 pm, she, feeling flushed and a little tipsy (but satisfied and mellow) will walk down fourth street, past the prison to Turner Street where she will wave to neighbors and friends, turning north on Jordan St then continuing on to Jute and Gordon across American Parkway. The well lighted streets will guide our happy (and slightly inebriated!) homeowner through the safe and quiet neighborhoods to her nice loft in the Paint Factory where she will enjoy another round of drinks before heading to bed. Each night to fall asleep, she will be serenaded by the sounds of deep base thumps, racing cars, firing guns, and vegetables growing for the next day's market.

squirrel said...

I visited 8th St. yesterday. It has been years since I have been in the area. It was depressing.

Poverty, poverty and more poverty. The Coachhaus isn't even fit for much except a crack house.

The chief "legitimate" business seems to be tax preparers in this section of the city. I guess that is an efficient way to get those in poverty to part with their money. Prepare their taxes and take 25-35% for an immediate refund.

It is an informal economy: bookmaking, gambling, usurious lending - legal and illegal, drugs, prostitution, illegal rooming houses, alcohol sales in retail stores, prostitution, counterfeit goods etc. It goes on all day every day. It undermines the legitimate economy. They consume municipal services and do not pay a think I am sure.

I know little about real estate but there must be thousands of violations of all types in one block alone. I also cannot think why anyone would invest in those properties for any reason, given what is there now. I suppose they are purchased and then just bled of what cash flow is left in them.

I did see a couple of brand new Range Rovers cruising the streets. I guess wayward suburbanites who attended a visioning meeting and are looking of the high end niche stores to open up. I think not unless they wear NY Yankees caps backward with the stickers and tags still attached.

There is one solution - pay to rent a cop to keep people out of West Park after dark. I think somehow the current administration seems to think these two are connected.

Anonymous said...

Squirrel, I have to rebut. 8th Street may not be the Promenade in Center Valley but it is DEFINITELY not the scene of a 1979 NYC movie either. Buildings may be old but that doesn't make them fit to be crack houses. Also, everything from bookmaking, illegal drug sales and use, and prostitution is something that goes on in the WHOLE Lehigh Valley. Please don't think it doesn't happen in YOUR neighborhood. CRIME happens everywhere and A-town police and the communities are working to make the neighborhoods better.
Also, people in Allentown drive Range Rovers (there is actually a dealership on Lehigh Street) and we have plenty of suburbanites, who aren't wayward, who come to the city for shopping, nightlife, and entertainment. You may be anti-Allentown but please speak the facts before you just assume we A-town residents are all welfare-abusing, drug addicted, multi-children having, people.


squirrel said...


Name calling (anti-Allentown)is not nice. Just because I do not have your perspective don't call me anti-Allentown. Please!

I suggest sticking to the principles and not the personality. I am not attacking anyone or any group. If you think I am, that is your transference.

I live in Allentown, like it, and freely admit everything I mentioned is in my neighborhood as well.

All of what I said is true and it does undermine the legitimate economy. It harms us all.

My economics are a little different than South Beach economics. There is more to urban renewal/development than eating out, entertainment and shopping. My solution is not a liquor license on every corner.

I prefer to thinking about building Allentown economically by addressing concerns along the line of jobs, training for substantial employment, provision of health care, decent education, decent housing, welfare of children, developing community responsibility etc. - Money and initiative has to come form somewhere.

But d**n everyone seems stuck on eating and shopping.

Thanks for your comments. BTW the Land Rover dealership is on Tilghman Street not Lehigh. A lot of people from out of the area get them confused.

Anonymous said...

...and just when does the new Allentown economic development director moving into the city? New locations just opened up this week. How fortuitous.

Sarina said...

I don't see living in downtown as living on the edge of doomsday. If I viewed it that way, I wouldn't have moved here. I was able to find a nice affordable old house that would've cost much more anywhere else. Also, I have family in the area so it was a comfortable fit.

I don't give the mayor much credit or blame for anything. I don't feel he has a daily affect on my life. I'm more concerned with the scummy people living around the corner or my coveted parking space.

Anonymous said...

Squirrel, I apologize and did not mean "anti-Allentown" as a name calling device and also understand your perspective and opinion. We all have these. Unsure where South Beach came from when dealing with the principles and future of A-town but I'll roll with it. (smile)
Anyway, everything you said about: "building Allentown economically by addressing concerns along the line of jobs, training for substantial employment, provision of health care, decent education, decent housing, welfare of children, developing community responsibility etc. - Money and initiative has to come form somewhere." I agree with you fully, BUT WHERE does that money come from and WHO has taken the initiative ? I, personally, believe it has to begin with the surrounding communities because THEY are the ones who will, in the end, be effected and will effect any plans and measures that the City takes. Also, let's face the FACTS, we have a PRISON in the middle of the City (a gorilla in the room), no one wants to talk about). We have crime and social dysfunction because while everyone rants and raves about bringing upscale boutiques to Hamilton, the PEOPLE in Allentown are suffering from a lack of education, pride, and community spirit. Why ? Because the leaders are attempting to move forward and it seems WE are just getting in the way. You want to get rid of illegal bookkeeping, prostitution, gambling, check cashing stores, and pawn shops ? Offer a viable alternative that will work for EVERYONE and let EVERYONE in on the future plans. It's not enough to say "we believe Allentown's strength is its' DIVERSITY" and then say how "those people" have caused the downfall of A-town!
And Squirrel, thanks for the address correction. I am from out of town, but it's funny how a lot of "out of towners" aren't just complaining about the City, but actually DOING something about it.
I personally invite you to my downtown event on Hamilton Street between 6th and 7th on JULY 12th,


Anonymous said...

Sarina, living in 'the city' of allentown may not be 'doomsday' but if your 'around-the-corner' neighbors are that scummy then we may be closer than you think.