May 5, 2010

Pawlowski's Magic Hat


Saturday's Morning Call, presented a story* outling a grant program designed "to help people at least give you a second look", according to Mayor Pawlowski. The truth is Pawlowski uses our money as the gift that keeps on giving. Two of the seven are restaurants which have received substantial aid from other city programs. Three are small startups which occupy space which appears to be owned or handled by the same realtor. One recipient, New York Urban, was a successful clothes retailer who opened a second shop. The city claims if the businesses stay open less than five years, they will try to recoup the money through liens; but only one of the seven is not a tenant, so that claim is baseless. Three of the shops have recently had their facade redone in an identical finish. Did we pay to remodel the building with facade grants and then provide tenants with these business grants? Coincidence or shenanigan? Talking of shenanigans, I must mention Pawlowski's peek-a-boo and hide-a-fund system**. One receiver of these new grants is Johnny Manana's. Yes, it's the same place that has been receiving grants since before Pawlowski was mayor. This joke is located in a KOZ and already pays no taxes. It was given a special low cost city sponsored liquor license. It appears this latest grant, $50,000, was virtually blackmail to open up, so our agency leaders could crow about how wonderful are their accomplishments. Another $50,000 went to the Cosmopolitan, not yet built, but named. The owner received the location for one dollar, the previous building was torn down at our expense, and of course he received the customary city discounted liquor license. I could say a few more things,but I will be polite. Some of the small shops, the ones with the redwood fronts, you better visit quickly. When the grant for their rent is up, so will they.
GRANT RECIPIENTS
Vickey's Sweet Spot 621 Hamilton St. $11,190
New York Urban 740 Hamilton St. $19,366
Total Office Solutions 915 Hamilton St. $20,000
Wireless & Beyond 965 Hamilton St. $20,000
Ileanette's Beauty Salon 913 Hamilton St. $20,000
Johnny Manana's 835 Hamilton St. $50,000
Cosmopolitan 18 N. Sixth St. $50,000

UPDATE:" Pawlowski said some of the remaining money ($155,000) could be used to promote existing restaurants"

*http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-b1_5grants-r.6390799may10,0,6273080.story

**Allentown Economic and Development Corporation,Allentown Commercial and Industrial Development Authority, Allentown Redevelopment Authority

reprinted from May 11, 2008

ADDENDUM: Since I wrote this post two years ago, both Vickey's Sweet Spot and Johnny Manana's have gone out of business. The Morning Call now reports that Pawlowski hopes to set up another recipient, a sports bar, in the Manana spot.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Michael:

Yet another economic improvement project is discussed in the MC.

This time it is the reemergence of a low income housing project right on center square in Allentown.

Immediate income for a city on the verge of bankruptcy? And also a restaurant row.

I can already here the smears of racism being hurled at the detractors by the faith based communities.

What can one say anymore. This is simply a schizophrenic development policy indicative of the desperation of the current administration.

Is there any meat to city council to do anything in this city?

Chris Casey said...

hey Mike, why don't you and i apply for that grant? We can open a dart league bar for the PP&L players, right? Big Money!

Anonymous said...

Ah, Manana's.

The Cornerstone of Economic Redevelopment, as lauded by Pawlowski himself in a grand-standing speech, if my memory serves me correctly.

Is is not true, Mr. Molovinsky, the definitiion of insanity is doing the same things over and over again but expecting different results?

RO

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
Thanks for this post. Imagine a city giving a business owner money for the rent or radio commercials! If we can't even afford the rent, why in the world should we open a business! It's not his money and that's the problem.

Anonymous said...

MM writes: "will try to recoup the money through liens; but only one of the seven is not a tenant."

Are we to believe these buildings are owned by a local realtor who somehow gets grants to fix them up via renters and then the tenants leave and the owner has had his/her busines fixed up at taxpayer expense?

Where is the building located that has this sign in the window?Who is this Ron guy? A city employee or an independent business owner? How did this guy get to show these city-owned properties? Does this guy get a commission for his trouble?

Anonymous said...

UPDATE:" Pawlowski said some of the remaining money ($155,000) could be used to promote existing restaurants"

What existing restaurants? Please give us a list. We'd like to see the Chinese Retaurant that has been a landmark on Hamilton get some financial help.

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone will explain the positive economics of why Allentown on one hand states it wants to build a restaurant row on Hamilton Street while today announcing it has approved moderate to low income housing to be constructed on the former Corporate Plaza property.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 8:04, the sign in the window is from a business person who had/has an interest in the building, they are not city owned properties. he was savvy enough to offer his buildings for rent promoting the city incentive program. i believe the photo is 965 hamilton, which became Wireless and Beyond, and received $20,000 which was used for rent payments.

anon 8:22, two new restaurants are being subsidized; the one coming in the butz building and also the one that opened in the hotel.

i first published this post in 2008. I had taken the photograph previously. if i haven't answered all the questions, it's because since then there have been many more issues to fret about.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:58

I think it is to create a readily available labor pool with no transportation issues to overcome to report to work.

What does LANTA say?

Anonymous said...

Wonder how that hotel restaurant is doing these days? Anyone here eaten there yet?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
Write Fast!


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The decision, by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, is likely to trigger a vigorous lobbying battle, arraying big phone and cable companies and their allies on Capitol Hill against Silicon Valley giants and consumer advocates.

Breaking a deadlock within his agency, Mr. Genachowski is expected Thursday to outline his plan for regulating broadband lines. He wants to adopt "net neutrality" rules that require Internet providers like Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. to treat all traffic equally, and not to slow or block access to websites."

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna apply for a restaurant grant too. Don't know a thing about restaurants or how to cook or even have a cent to pay the rent. Sure to be a winner.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Anon 8:58

I think it is to create a readily available labor pool with no transportation issues to overcome to report to work.

What does LANTA say?

May 6, 2010 9:40 AM


But for what downtown labor-intense industries?

Anonymous said...

10:41,

The Welfare Industry?

michael molovinsky said...

anon 11:41, in regard to the welfare industry, yesterday's article about the low income housing vote last night quoted the CEO, alan jennings, build it and they will come! (my quote, not his)

monkey momma said...

"Maybe someone will explain the positive economics of why Allentown on one hand states it wants to build a restaurant row on Hamilton Street while today announcing it has approved moderate to low income housing to be constructed on the former Corporate Plaza property."

I am not a cheerleader for the city, but I have heard the so-called logic of this housing dev't. Apparently, more folks need to live downtown to make it safer. The theory is, the more folks downtown, the better off downtown will be.

When downtown is perceived as safer, folks from the outer city limits and the suburbs will be sure to visit downtown in droves. Right? Right...

What I don't understand is this argument that low income housing is desperately needed downtown. I see "for rent" signs everywhere downtown. It would take me about 30 minutes to find a place to live downtown, if I were so inclined. What kind of objective numbers can we evaluate to truly see if this housing is, in fact, needed in this area? Obviously, something has convinced the mayor and Council that this *project* is needed.

Anonymous said...

Monkey Momma:

Has nothing to do with housing.

Everything to do with generating short term income from construction activities.

The city is on the verge of bankruptcy! Thought everyone knew that.

King Edward and his court of Sponge Bob progeny jesters just refuse to admit it.