Jan 10, 2012

The Transformation of Allentown


Transformational is Ed Pawlowski's word for the change taking place in Allentown. What's happening at the moment is demolition. There is an odor and dust in the air. One merchant told me he's fearful for his health walking around; Is the white soot asbestos? Thirty five, one hundred year old buildings, do that. I recall when the demolished rows of buildings were jewelers, shoe stores, opticians and tailors. None of the stores, even the ones on Hamilton Street, harked back to that era. The demolished stores apparently catered to a disposable clientele, whose votes matter more than their opinion. Those merchants, in vain, actually had gathered thousands of signatures pleading for their survival. The bulldozers, in one week, have established that Hamilton Street will never again aspire to be a shopping district. The only question now is will Allentown succeed as an entertainment and office venue? Will the taxpayers be able and willing to support a vision in which they had no input? The official answer will take years to determine. The true answer, even longer.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Michael M, Based on your comment as to how long it will be to judge if it will be successful,means that the Allentown taxpayers will continue to pay for this project until City of Allentown declares Bankruptcy if takes years to be a successful project and Ed will be long gone, smiling as he leaves a Bankrupt City.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 5:11, it certainly has the potential to bankrupt the city. at some point if the city concedes that the arena is underperforming, then they will go through the motions of hiring a new manager, replacing people on the arena authority, etc. pawlowski said that the health of the city is tied to hamilton street, and put all our eggs in that basket. i believe, and said as a candidate in 05, that thinking is a mistake, repeated by every mayor. allentown has lehigh street, tilghman street, union blvd. all sections of the city, besides hamilton street, have been neglected for decades, to our demise.

Anonymous said...

Here's what's troubling about JB and LVH board. For such a project to become a realty takes months, even a year or more of planning.
Now LVH's announcement to build on 7th St. corridor is released. Why?
It speaks poorly for one of the finest health institutions in the state. Building a new hospital in a poor section of town to help those in need is noble. Why the secrecy?

michael molovinsky said...

anon 6:50, it's my understand that LVH is considering a sports medicine clinic in either reilly's new building, or one of the retail spaces at the arena itself, but not building a new hospital

Anonymous said...

MM
Thank you for the correction. Still, isn't is accurate JB just resigned from the LVH board of directors,
after the building plans dust settled?
Sports Medicine? Downtown...ahhhh.
You mean to heal the hockey players.
Where's John Brinson when we need him? Bet he reopens his racquet club.

Monkey Momma said...

I drove past the demolition yesterday morning and witnessed the dust myself. Although there were one or two streams of fire retardant (?) being pointed at the demolition, there was still a huge, uncontained cloud of dust and debris floatiing out from the site. The workers themselves had their mouths covered with what looked like small gas masks. But those of us on the other side of the chain linked fence had nothing to protect us from contaminated air. I wonder if the the Montessori preschool, whose playground bumps up against this demolition site, allows the children outside when demolition occurs? I wonder if ANYONE should be around this demolition, esp. if asbestos are part of the equation.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 6:59, sports medicine is the new term for doctors who specialize in injuries. more of their patients tripped on a rug than got hurt playing sports.

i agree that reilly's resignation from the hospital chairmanship seems more symbolic than anything else. certainly, the hospital's role in the valley is most meaningful, and those who give their time, including reilly, most necessary. i have issues with how our elected leadership made unilateral decisions of such magnitude, concerning our center city. i do not question reilly's integrity

Anonymous said...

"witnessed the dust myself. Although there were one or two streams of fire retardant (?) being pointed at the demolition, there was still a huge, uncontained cloud of dust and debris floatiing out from the site"

A medical group needs to come in and study the children of the area as to increases in asthma and other lung related diseases. What about area day cares too? If everyday "joes" created this kind of dust, their job site would be shut down.

Anonymous said...

JB's service to the hospital very noble. No one questions that but he should have stepped down a year ago or not at all.

Anonymous said...

Never ealized there were that many sports injuries downtown.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 7:55, i suppose that's between reilly and the hospital. at any rate, it's not a topic i care to pursue on this blog, and consequently will not host further comments on it.

Anonymous said...

I question the integrity of all the people cramming this travesty down all of our throats with no public vetting.
Secret meetings.
The nerve to maintain that by virtue of being elected to public office is enough reason to blow many millions of dollars with arrogance and total impunity.
just go a couple blocks from this "project" and find:
broken gas lines.
broken water lines.
bubbling sewage.
empty buildings.
violent crimes.
Add to that a few "authorities" and other various "programs"in place to suck money out of residents.
What kind of humans do this?
The monied folks from outside the city won't come, and the employed city dwellers affected will be leaving.
It's happening already.
JOB WELL DONE!

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

According to the Morning Call (you can't post a comment on this story) Jaindl is joining in the taxpayer-subsidized transformation of Allentown.

Interestingly, the sketch of his plan suggests he will now own land required to complete a bridge over the Lehigh River for the American Parkway. I seem to remember, the new bridge was to tie-in with the existing American Parkway in this same area. My apologies, if my memory is not correct.

Seems to me, the Jaindl development shown would be more helpful to Allentown if it is constructed (somehow) adjacent to the new arena block.

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

A check of Google Maps reveals the completed American Parkway would run DIRECTLY through the acreage now owned by the Jaindl Group.

Has the American Parkway design been changed? Does the city now need to negotiate with Jaindl for the required land? Does the Jaindl ownership of this critical acreage, obtained with the aid of taxpayer monies, now allow the Jaindl Group to make a "fast buck?" on its partial investment?

Look, I really don't know the answer to the above questions. More official information is required.

Something is cloudy here.

Anonymous said...

The developer talks about wonderful 'views of the river'. What tenants will also get is a wonderful 'view' of the delapidated east side of Allentown, a vacant 'sky scraper' at Martin Tower, shining lights on summer night from Taxpayer Park, and roaring engines from landing planes at ABE.