Nov 17, 2011

Where Was Peter?

Yesterday I received a plea from Peter Lewnes if I could join the effort to stop the Rite-Aid from using their box store plan on 7th Street. Below are excerpts from his letter.
I'm writing for your support against a corporate takeover of 7th and Allen Street at tomorrow night's zoning hearing board meeting. ...
7th Street Allentown's development is facing a serious setback tomorrow night. The Rite Aid Corporation is seeking to demolish 602-618 N 7th Street, an anchor building that admittedly requires a ton of renovation but historically housed Rite Aid and served them well as a facility.
The threat lies with what they propose to replace it with. The Seventh Street Development Committee has worked to protect center city from suburban sprawl and becoming an extension of 145 in Whitehall... SSDC continually advocated for restrictions on big-box, suburban-style development along the corridor - any type of development that would be detrimental to its street-oriented, pedestrian-friendly design.
What Rite Aid is proposing for the corner of 7th and Allen Street flies directly in the face of the results of this public, community-driven process. ... Approving such variances would set a dangerous precedent, making it that much easier for future developers to further decimate the heart of our neighborhood shopping district....
Peter Lewnes
Where was Peter when the city decided to tear down the historical 700 block of Hamilton Street, in the traditional shopping block, to build the Big Ice Box? Where was Peter when merchant after merchant lined up at City Council to plead for their livelihood and 20 years of their labor? The 7th Street Business District has actually prospered from the pending demolition of Hamilton Street. Several merchants have relocated there, including the dynamic New York Fashion.
Asking where Peter was is somewhat rhetorical. I realize that if Peter doesn't serve directly at the favor of the Mayor, his efforts on 7th Street are never the less codependent on City Hall. I wish him well this evening at the zoning hearing.

Bernie O'Hare also covers Lewnes's letter


Anonymous said...

When issues as the Rite Aid store arise, Counciman Donovan is in the lead tostop a bad thing, but he will be gone and who did the voters replace him with, not one of the three Republican candidates that would of lead the fight for the taxpayers of Allentown, but another Pawlowski supporter. But wait to next year, when council will be asked by Mayor to replace Councilman D Armore to add his choice to City Council.

Anonymous said...

Raise the alarm! Something bad could happen in downtown Allentown and mainstreet manager Peter Lewnes wants us to take action. Good one.What is a main street manager anyway?

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

I like Peter but you are 100% correct in this particular instance.
Where was Peter when Allentown needed him? Can't have it both ways
Pete. Rather astonishing that he thinks he can.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 6:30, as i noted at the end of the post, peter must walk a tightrope between his preferences and city policy. the purpose of this post was to note the irony between trying to save the "historic" sears building circa 1950, and demolishing the real history, the 700 block of hamilton street. in today's morning call, some historic group will attempt to save the skylight and other features first noted on this blog, months ago.

Anonymous said...

" today's morning call, some historic group will attempt to save the skylight and other features first noted on this blog, months ago."


In addition to "Where was Peter", an equally important question is "Where was the Allentown Preservation League" and other groups supposedly concerned about historic preservation?

There was a time when groups like this actually fought to stop the demolition of buildings, and weren't just concerned about getting permission to strip valuable pieces from the buildings to fill their own coffers. Oh, how small of a sum it takes to buy silence.

The sad fact is that these groups have been co-opted by Pawlowski and his Progressive supporters who are not interested in our history or preserving it.

Monkey Momma said...

I really don't think Lewnes is the guy whose feet need to be held to the fire here. He has a vested interest in maintaining the new character of 7th Street, specifically, because he almost singlehandedly designed it. His influence on Hamilton is not known to me, but it certainly isn't anything approaching 7th Street's renovations.

It's City Council that ought to be answering the "where were you" questions regarding Hamilton. Now I read on Bernie's blog that one councilman "may pull support" for the arena if he doesn't see studies soon. Now that the evictions are complete, now that demolition is scheduled, now that IT'S A DONE DEAL, studies are requested. And public input meetings are scheduled. You bet things are upside down and non-sensical here in Allentown!!! The time to ask questions and study the impact reports has long since passed.

Council and the mayor have chosen to roll the dice all over Allentown. God help all of the businesses here, even on 7th Street, when the bill comes due for our city's bad bets.

Anonymous said...

This article is right on the mark!

MM - you are good....

Peter Lewnes, the vulture, has intentions to come to Hamilton Street to grab the "historical" parts of the building, once the stores get vacated. Of course using tax money....

Grapevine news - he wants that building for himself and his "7th Street Community Group" on tax payers money - NOT for the benefit of the two highrises that house over 100 senior citizens that need a Rite-Aid close by for their RX to live.

To benefit the community is not their goal - it's to clean out!

Anonymous said...

Allentown Democrat Voter over at Lehigh Valley Ramblings says, "this Lewnes guy must be some kind of troublemaker."

I could not agree more, although I do believe someone should explain to heroic Comrade Donovan that, for the collective good of the People's Democratic City of Allentown, it is a fact that his rubber stamp cannot be undone.

It is also a fact that I cannot find "Main Street Manager" in my Russian-English, English-Russian dictionary.

Is this position the equivalent of an Executive Chairman for a Raysovet beneath the Gorsovet?


michael molovinsky said...

anon 8:18, you're much more critical of peter than i am. as stated twice already, i only used him as a literary device to contrast the real historical lost of the 700 block of hamilton street, vs. the sears building, circa 1950. it's my understand that peter either wants the current sears building reused as rite-aid (as it was before), or a new building that's more urban and pedestrian in design, rather than suburban. anon, such a future comment on peter will either have to be signed by verifiable name, or provide more details.

Anonymous said...

Peter unfortunately was told to be silent and put the good of the neighborhood he is in charge over over everything else. It's not something that he's happy with but has to live with.

Guy Williams said...

Peter is doing a great job on 7th much better than Ianelli did as head of downtown improvement district.He is doing what Kravco coporate managers do when putting together malls. Am sure he was excited behind the scenes at the possibilities of adding the buisnesses of hamilton to his mix on 7th.Anyone familiar with the chelsea flower market building in nyc.I think was a water works industrial building now like a farmers market with small retail.A better use of the sears building.Main Street manager indeed.

Bernie O'Hare said...

He has a pretty strange way of remaining silent.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, i think that anon 9:46 meant that peter was told to be silent about hamilton street.

Anonymous said...

Back in my country, we call that "taking one for the team".

Ice hockey is a fast-paced game which demands cooperation, coordination as well as commitment in order for the Collective to win and become powerful.

Physical and mental toughness are required, as well.


Anonymous said...

It does seem that the team running this city is lacking in all of those qualities you mention.

ironpigpen said...

Mr. Molovinsky,

If the Palace of Sport to be constructed anything close to the sure-to-be-successful, can't fail proposition as touted so often by Pawlowski and his crew of apparatchiks ... then, one would be tempted to think, private speculators driven by lucrative profits would be trampling over each other in order to get in line to invest in this thing.

How is it that none of the highly-trained (but can't be trusted?) professionals in the Fourth Estate down at The Morning Call or anywhere else never see it fit to ask this fundamental question with respect to this supposed Manifest Destiny for Main Street of the City With No Limits?