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Jul 10, 2008
Unsafe or Rising Star
A couple years ago the website for the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation described 645 Hamilton St. as "a monument to growth."* Today's edition of The Morning Call, reporting on violations from the City of Allentown, describes the building as unsafe.** It's the same building, with the same tenants, in the same condition. Unlike the city inspectors, or the well meaning reporter, I'm there every day for coffee at Jerry's Cafe. Jerry's was not one of the upstart businesses blessed with a grant. He had to pay for everything, and everything had to be inspected inside out. His plans had to be approved, his electric and plumbing had to be approved, his grill and hood system had to be approved. City inspectors in and out of the building during this process included no less than plumbing, electrical and health. Although the recent violation report issued to the building in general, lists extension cords, it fails to note those cords are attached to a movable lighting grid for the Latino Television production studio and are cords by design. Although the city citation reports cites unlicensed businesses, it omits the fact that the lower level was occupied by Sassi which performs drug testing for the Lehigh County, and the City's action recently caused Melendez Reality and Madison Mortgage to vacate. Unfortunately for this current hapless owner, the City was looking for violations. Last month Pawlowski promoted a building across the street which has not been occupied or improved in decades, although there is no running water there, breakfast was served to invited realtors. It's easy to beat the drums against the greedy absentee landlords, and surely the apologists will applaud Pawlowski for enforcing codes, but private money is running from this town. There is no work currently being done on any project on Hamilton Street without a grant. It's good politics, but bad business.