Jul 16, 2012

The Money Pit, The Sequel

For we of little faith, the hole on Hamilton Street is a huge money pit. The NIZ legislation makes cost no object, and the real projected cost of the arena project has never been disclosed. If the arena is not enough to suck Allentown dry for the next few decades, let us contemplate the Neuweiler Brewery, located in the riverside portion of the NIZ district. The City of Allentown has hired Cornerstone Consulting Engineers, fee unknown, to evaluate the building for conversion into "a mix of office, apartments and retail space." molovinsky on allentown has commissioned the former caretaker of the property, John P. Chapkovich, to share his actual experience, after spending years on site.

  The Neuweiler property has many many secrets hidden within it that the City does not know about environmentally... I remember a few years ago, as well as in the ‘80s, that they City made the comment about just tearing it down. I made myself a little phone call to them and needed to inform them that if they would demolish the building that they would have to completely rebuild the roads around the building and regrade the property seeing as the building is holding them up. Since they took over have they done anything to alleviate the code violations that exist? Lead by example. The City actually took the property via eminent domain as the original site of the arena project. for some reason, their sights were then changed (no pun intended) to the Center Square one. The developer of the Arena fronted the near $1M to purchase the 16 W Liberty St property, the rear parcel, in the form of a loan to the Redevelopment Authority.... I personally showed at least 20-30 real estate developers through this property(front brewery portion) in the almost 5 years that I was involved in it, most of them sent through City Hall or the county... There is no way with the amount it would cost to just renovate the building and convert it into anything,... the rental that would be required to fund the project would be too high.. This is without the environmental issues. My question is, how is the City going to make this happen?.... I also just took a look at the “study” that was done by cornerstone for the property and just right off the top of my head I find it very shady. There are parts of the building that were obvious issues that were omitted or made to be less than what they are...I also reviewed the environmental cleanup plan for the property that is posted on the City's webite and just to clean the debris out the preliminary estimate is $900K-950K. They said the actual cost could (key word here) be lower. The plan also goes on to say that this is not including any remediation because of building materials on the building such as lead paint, the asbestos that is the ceilings in the front of the building (that isn't plaster my friends)... Once again, this is an issue of City hall telling people what they want to hear to get what they want....

Our mayor is going Hollywood with this project. There's a movie company interested in the property, because of it's NIZ status. They specialize in science fiction and horror flicks. Any title suggestions?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Remember the roofer well. Know what you say is true because years ago one could travel to Boyle Park and the commercial buildings and actually see the waste and debris piled in the backyard.

ironpigpen said...

Simpleton post by simpleton blogger with nothing but simpleton readers?

It's all about the Propaganda.

See you around the Public Library sometime, Comrade.

Anonymous said...

What another media mishap for the investigative reporters from the local outlets call/69?

Guy Williams said...

The problem is complex but there are some possible solutioms and that is to take it down in sections.Too bad the city has an adversarial relationship with Abe A.Where to go with the debis is one of the major costs however abe i think still owns the eastern industries pit off MLK drive. The clean brick and concrete can be crushed and used as fill to top off/level the pit. A win/win for both sides.

Anonymous said...

Guy -

I beleive the former quarry off of MLK and St. Elmo is actually owned by Rohrbach. It may be full or close to it since the city has dumped road material in there for years.

Abe owns the former cement factory next to that site.

michael molovinsky said...

mr. redd, your comment does not appear because it is an engineering company, not a property company, of the same name, but no connection.

John P. Chapkovich said...

Mr. Williams
The a few problem with demolition of such a building at this point. 1) It is on the National Historic Register,it was on there before the old county courthouse. It is my understanding that a municipality cannot just tear down a historically registered building without permission from the National Parks Service and to get the approval the building has to be completely without reuse or have no hope of repair. 2) The cost to demolish the building would be astronomical. Just to tear it down you would only have two options and only one practical one. The only practical option is that it would have to be dismantled piece by piece bacause of the amount of steel in the construction. If you look at the front of the building you will see what looks like brick columns, each one is a steel beam. On each floor there are steel beams roughly every 3-4 feet as joists. Just to give you an idea, a standard house joist is 1 1/4 feet apart. There is a huge cost for the demo.

Whether demolished or not, the property still would need remediation. That alone is millions. The City never acted on the property before because they didn't want to. Now that the City owns it, they are legally obligated to clean it. You don't mess with environmental hazards.

Anonymous said...

The city doesn't seem to feel any particular pressure to repair significant bridges. The EPA and other Fed organizations have a unwritten understanding with the city to stay out of town or look the other way ( millions of gallons of raw sewage in the creek).
I believe the city could continue to successfully ignore this indefinitely if they do chose.
If the city wants to see it develiped,then obviously things need to be addressed.

Anonymous said...

This city did not act environmentaly when they stole the buildings were the Brown Hole now has been built?

REDD

Anonymous said...

All this rebuilding of the infastructure of allentown, now under this same administration everything that holds this city together is being parted out?