Jan 9, 2015

SteakHouse Rustling

Most of the poaching for J.B. Reilly's City Center has gone on quietly, save for this blog. I did mention how the move by National Penn was Allentown's gain, but Boyertown's loss. I suppose my biggest protest involved the major accountant vacating the Masonic Temple for new digs in City Center 367. Apparently, the management of Promenade Shops also isn't taking the highjacking of Shula's as a community benefit, and has filed a lawsuit over the lease default. With these steals spread out over a large area, and a blind eye from the local MSM, the negative consequences of the NIZ has been mostly hushed over. Combine a license to rustle like the NIZ, with the ambition and connections of a J.B., and one area's benefit causes a corresponding demise elsewhere in the state. The number crunchers in Harrisburg did realize the problem after the fact, thus the newly hatched CRIZ alternative. The sorry story of our state representatives also contribute to Pennsylvania's dilemma; Complacent incumbents unopposed term after term. We are at the point now where nobody will invest anything in Pennsylvania, without being subsidized by the taxpayers.


Bethlehem Native said...

These "tax break" have had an unfortunate consequence. Developers seldom build anything without some sort of tax deal. To the developer, it would be irresponsible, from a profit/loss point of view, to not take advantage of such deals. Why build in Location A when building in Location B will save you tens of thousands of dollars? That the savings comes at the expense of taxpayers is immaterial to them.

michael molovinsky said...

i suspect that the restaurant owner knows that he won't do near the volume in center city allentown. he's losing the atmosphere and ease of parking at the promenade, but hopes to be ahead of the game with the greatly reduced rent, subsidized by the taxpayers of pennsylvania.

Anonymous said...

I still am not seeing it, with all the gift cards and reduced rent there is still not one life sustaining job produced¿ If x +y=sicess what if it is turned around y+x=the same¿

The data I would like to see is unavailable to the public and just yet another edited out ommission by local advertismental tools¿
patent pending

Anonymous said...

I am underwhelmed by Reilly's efforts downtown. He has an unprecedented, one of a kind, multi-million dollar economic colossus in the third largest city in the state in his possession and bright, experienced people in City Center.

He's managed a few restaurants, a few stores, some planned apartments and mostly poached local businesses all drawn by heavy subsidy. For heaven's sake, our newspapers devote thousands of words to a restaurant and make it front page news. What is going on?

That's it. Lots of low paying jobs and jobs we already had. Like what any other developer in Pennsylvania does every day with considerably less resources.

I'm sure it's making JB plenty of money and Allentown is happy with all the nice buildings but there is a sense of missed opportunity. State taxpayers gave him an A+ gift and he's returning a marginal C product but we're desperate and afraid of admitting it's not exactly what we hoped for so we celebrate it and try to convince ourselves.

In the big scheme of the awesome potential of the NIZ, a Shula Steakhouse and a Sorelli jewelery store are peanuts.

They really have to do better. Allentown has to land a big fish - out of state, dare I say even Fortune 500 Company to headquarter in the NIZ to make this a success story. Those are the stakes because the NIZ is that massive. It demands something better.

doug_b said...

@Anonymous 1:01: "Allentown has to land a big fish"

I don't think a Fortune 500 will locate in Allentown for many reasons: ABE airport doesn't have the availablity of flights. The public schools. The decaying neighborhoods of row homes. The poverty in Allentown proper. The aging infrstructure. Where would the employees live? In Macungie? In Whitehall?

AuH2O said...

anon 1:01
why not Macungie and Whitehall? The LV suburbs are already full of expatriated New Yorkers, Philadelphians, etc. Living at 8th and Walnut? I doubt it, but somewhere in this great community...definitely. Keep in mind that many who are leaders in the NY business community are from 'somewhere else' and would kill to get out of LonGisland and Joisey.

Anonymous said...

News flash... after the "newness" excite of a grand opening wears off... these businesses will leave the downtown area of the Queen City. As MM notes... without the heavy subsidy of tsx dollars, these businesses would never locate in Allentown. At some point, the customers will stop coming in feeding frenzy droves to actually support the businesses. The burbs are still healthy and business knows that it is important to be there. Look at South Whitehall... they landed a Moe's Southwest Grill and Chipolte. Why does the MC not report on that? But the real story is that these businesses will be successful despite not having taxpayer subsidies.

Anonymous said...

anon 1:01 - Olympus is an example of a company Allentown needs to land from another state.

Poaching, yep, but it's not local poaching. Both Allentown and the State need to recruit an Olympus downtown. They have to. They don't have the luxury of creating a pretty little Saturday night entertainment district and calling it a success.

Otherwise they just don't have that much to show for the investment. If you are the state of Pennsylvania and unleash probably one of the most lucrative economic development gifts in the nation and only get what's down there so far that says "Pennsylvania is a terrible place to invest in."

As for the constant news about restaurants and warehouses, that's a symptom of what the Lehigh Valley workforce offers currently.