Feb 12, 2013

Allentown Becomes A Monarchy

Park and Shop Lots
Downtown Allentown boomed for about 100 years. During the prosperity years following World War II, the two car family emerged. Several business leaders of Allentown realized both the parking problem and the potential to enhance sales. Park and Shop was begun by Harvey Farr, Donald Miller and John Leh. The current small parking deck at 10th and Hamilton, above the current uptown police substation, was the first deck in the country. To make the parking lots, shown in the postcard above, houses were purchased and torn down. Although the gentlemen mentioned in this article profited from their influence, they always provided solutions for the betterment of the community. They seemed to be a benevolent oligarchy. As the viability of the Park And Shop enterprise declined along with the intercity shopping, The Allentown Parking Authority was conveniently formed by local politicians, and it purchased the lots using Municipal bonds; The process allowed the aforementioned gentleman to land on their feet, in a downward market.

Flash ahead thirty five years to another downward market, and we have one gentleman, J.B. Reilly, buying up center-city with municipal bonds backed by state taxes. Reilly has purchased far more property than ever owned by Park and Shop. He has purchased virtually the four square blocks surrounding the arena, a significant portion of the Neighborhood Improvement Zone(NIZ). Again the process was facilitated by our elected officials. Let us hope that the new monarchy will be as benevolent as the old oligarchy. reprinted from November 2012                                                                                                                                                                                                 UPDATE: There was never any criticism of the old oligarchy, because one of the members, Donald Miller, owned the newspaper, The Morning Call. Flash ahead thirty five years, and again there is no criticism of the new monarchy by The Morning Call. Instead, on the contrary, valid questions raised by the alternative media, such as this blog, are dismissed as misguided and snide. Morning Call readers know that Reilly acquired property, but they don't know that with three exceptions, he acquired all the property adjoining the arena block. They are given the deed transfer dates as proof of no insider information, while ignoring the real relevant dates when agreements of sales were pushed on the owners. This distorted reporting goes back to the beginning of the project. In the first meeting, between the former merchants of Hamilton Street and the Pawlowski administration, the merchants complained that they didn't know the identity of the real buyer. While Sara Hailstone admitted the buyer was indeed the city, and that the realtors involved were indeed strawbuyers, those details never made the paper, despite the reporter's presence at the meeting. Similar intimidation tactics were used by Reilly in assembling his current monopoly of adjoining arena property. Similar cover is again being provided by The Morning Call.


Anonymous said...

mike, is reily buying the m orning call and their properties, reason for article. keep the boss happy.

michael molovinsky said...

@6:48, i heard that speculation twice now, but both on anonymous comments. at this point i have no reason to believe that it's true. the paper has been very kind to the project since the beginning, before reilly's monopoly, as explained in this post. they ignored the administration's heavy hand in acquiring the arena block. my guess is that the paper's attitude is a combination of laziness and liberalism. the editors and columnists believe that any change in center city is for the better. reporting wise, they allow two reporters to do the work of one. i suppose with all the uncertainty surrounding the paper's Tribune ownership, that the crew at 6th and linden is happy to just have a job.

Anonymous said...

Is this "insider" knowledge illegal, immoral or OK?
Just the way of the world?
Did Mr. Buffett change his mind about the MC purchase?

Anonymous said...

You are correct Michael it is a monarchy. But in this case I am sure the monarch will fall. I hardly see any of these players astute enough to adjust to the forthcoming economic conditions and financial havoc that is about to befall the nation. It already has started with Europe and is spreading to the US. All of those NIZ bonds will be worthless. The arena, if ever completed, will never amount to anything of any significance. The hotels will simply be repeats of what we already have in this city, at their best. The housing, if built, will become the villages of bands of roving urban marauders bent on collecting what ever furniture and other scraps of wood they can salvage to heat their homes and resort to whatever is necessary to survive. The shadow economy will be more pervasive and will provide the residents of the city with the goods and services they need.Yes Reilly and Pawlowski misjudged this one. A new era, unlike any other, is about to unfold. The old rules will not apply. The governmental has already lost most of its credibility at the federal level and the states are running out of money. What we have left is the local government and that is near a complete joke with the shortcoming of the current administration and the cast of characters filing city council seats in city hall. It will be interesting. But again rest assured those praised as our urban saviors will reap little from their efforts.

Anonymous said...

All the money in the nation could never amount to the propaganda that has been force feed to the local populus anonyomous¿ As you are saying if this administration would open there eyes and shut there mouth to take a good look around there blindness will never let light in¿


Anonymous said...

It may be from a left wing rags point of view, but they are also the powers that be here in Allentown.
The Sports-Industrial Complex Is Bleeding America Dry//



A little OT and I KNOW it won't make the Morning Call but this is how Candidates for City Council ae treated....

So, I have received my first threat of BLACK MAIL since I began running for the office of ALLENTOWN CITY COUNCIL. Now, 3 people had warned me that this would happen and I was like OK. But when they dig up what they THINK is going to embarrass you and will make you drop out of a race that I KNOW will help Allentown,PA become a better place, then I have no choice but to do as I said I was going to do and offer full transparency. Thoughts? And since he said it is ON THE RECORD, so is this:

QUESTIONS: Alfonso, attached are two dozen-plus scofflaw traffic citations on you in Lehigh County and 8 scofflaw traffic citations on you in Northampton County, including one for "Driving While License is Suspended or Revoked" (see "N8") that could (and should) score you 6 months in jail.

Care to comment? (on the record @ LVS)


ANSWER: Sure, parking tickets and a forgotten ticket. It happens and as a human (average person) I have made mistakes. I have paid or am paying my fines and i move on. It still has nothing to do with my desire to make Allentown, PA into a better place for my children, your children, and everyone else. My past has nothing to do with the great future I envison for Allentown. Thanks for the information by the way. It's appreciated!

Alfonso Todd
484 619 6541