Jan 9, 2012

Allentown Becomes Reillytown


molovinsky on allentown exclusive*
Just as William Penn gave this town to William Allen two hundred and fifty years ago, Pat Brown, Jennifer Mann and Ed Pawlowski have now given the town to J.B. Reilly. Actually, Reilly's getting a better deal than Allen, because the existing taxpayers will underwrite all his new acquisitions. This blogger has learned that with three exceptions, Reilly has purchased the square block across from the arena; that would be from 7th to 8th, and Hamilton to Walnut. The exceptions are the LCCC Portland Place building, and two adjoining store fronts. All other properties are either under an agreement of sale, or have one pending. One of the sellers claim that they were initially approached by a strawbuyer, who used language of eminent domain, similar to the tactics employed on the arena side. Although the offers appear fair to generous, several of the sellers supposedly felt they had little to no option. Although I initially thought that the threat of domain was an idle threat, perhaps it is possible. City Council really doesn't know what authority they gave the City and it's agents, when they signed that dotted line. One council member hoped it wouldn't result in just some rich white guys getting richer; Guess what? Just as the general public was not aware that the NIZ taxing mechanism could be used by approved private parties, few people understand that property taxes will be used if the earned income and sales tax fall short. In addition to the block outlined above, Reilly's City Center Investment Corp., funded by an initial $20million from the City Authority, and a yet disclosed second amount, is buying up both sides of Hamilton, from 5th to 10th Street. Additionally, he is purchasing the property north of Linden Street, to Turner Street. Several displaced former merchants who owned property on Hamilton, will now be tenants in Reilly buildings.
City Center Investment Corp. is a visionary real estate development and management company....We look forward to welcoming many tenants to live, work and play in what will be an inviting, accessible urban community.
Considering that Reilly hasn't been given the keys to the city, but rather the city itself, let us hope he succeeds.

*When The Morning Call reads this post, and produces their own longer version, with charts and maps, will they give this blog appropriate credit?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

M.M. What isthe current status of the Atieyh law suit that city can not use Eminent Domain to acquie properties for Commercial use.Also you mention that Reily buying prperties and received a loan to be repaid with tax dollars even the properties out o the N.I.Z.

michael molovinsky said...

the atiyeh suit has been settled; i assume he was compensated for loss of his sign at the dime bank building. all the properties being purchased by reilly are within the niz zone, which is considerably larger than just the arena parcel.

Anonymous said...

MM -

What an incredible risk to taxpayers!

The phrases "putting all your eggs in one basket" and "too big to fail" come quickly to mind for most of us.

But of course our civic leaders seem bewildered when anyone suggests something could go wrong here.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 6:50, the apologists claim that reilly and city center will be responsible for any shortfall not covered by the earned income and sales tax. however, since they were given NIZ tax benefits, it follows that they're eligible for the default option of using property taxes. if, and i believe when, this option kicks in, it has the potential to bankrupt allentown. as i have said before, the taxing bodies (city, county and school), in order to stay revenue neutral, will have to increase their millage. at that point, the taxpayers will truly be subsidizing reilly's private gain. for this plan to be in effect, without public input, much less extensive due diligence, is an outrage.

Anonymous said...

Mike, Looks like Sen Brownes Landlord will end up as one of the rich guys you mention could happen with the help of the Taxpayers of Allentown. Also you mention of Allentown Morning Call follow up on your posting. I am waiting to read what Future Attendee has to say.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 7:20, yes, brown rents office space in reilly's building. reilly also purchased the building at 8th and hamilton, northwest corner, where brown previously rented. as for ms. future; i refer you to jon geetings post about the NIZ, where future is quite insulting to me, to say the least. any comment from her will have to make a meaningful contribution to this dialogue in order to appear.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I understand Senator Browne will NOT be seeking re-election. I'd love to know where he'll be employed.

Anonymous said...

This Senator Browne appears to be a real team player ...

... surely the Phantoms ice hockey organization could use such a valuable asset.

VIKTOR TIKHONOV

Anonymous said...

Check Morning Call Oct. 13 story. Page 1, Mr. Reilly's Neighborhood. Details on all the properties Mr. Reilly purchased before and after NIZ. You should have given them credit.

michael molovinsky said...

ms. future, i'm aware of that story. what's exclusive about my story is that reilly and company has tied up the square block, and here's more; they plan to build high end housing and offices. i wish them well with the housing. meanwhile, nic zawarski hasn't bothered to dig out his filled in foundations on S. 8th street. (just a block away). but then again, nic was using his own money. btw, city center has purchased quite a few buildings since that list in october.

Anonymous said...

Pat Browne isn't running for re-election? Did I miss something?

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee said...

MM. I have not written anything about this blog post yet. If your response at 1:36 is in response to the post placed by anonymous at 1:23 please note that was not me who wrote it.

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

There's a Monopoly game going on in Allentown. The taxpayer is the banker.

Anonymous said...

That story and subsequent stories details all of Mr. Reilly's plans, including the building of high-end housing and offices. You really should not take credit for their work. It's unseemly.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 5:33, if you understood from those articles that mr. reilly would be owning entire square blocks, then you're correct, but i think your objective here is to discredit me. at any rate, i allowed you to make this point twice, and that's enough.

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher
More like a shell game and we tax payers are the marks.