Jul 8, 2015

The Neuweiler Brewery, A Pawlowski/Fleck Shenanigan


The City of Allentown stole the brewery from the rightful owner. Just as the former merchants of Hamilton Street were never allotted the opportunity to benefit from city arranged grants or the NIZ, the former taxpaying owner of the brewery was never given any assistance. Mayor Pawlowski can't stand private investors: If he didn't give you a grant, you're not worth much.

In the early 70's, the City and Redevelopment Authority gave control of the Neuweiler Brewery to a friend. Under the City's watch, windows were removed and exterior walls broken through to remove the brewing tanks and piping for scrap. All metal, wires and any object of value were crudely ripped out in an orgy of demolition. With a large opening in the back wall smashed out, the basement was used as a free landfill by a roofer.

Still, the building remained iconic, because of it's rich industrial architecture. In 2003, a New Jersey investor bought the building in the condition shown in the photograph. The building has been in that condition since the late 70's. His hope was at some point the City would appreciate the landmark, and cooperate in its revival. He must have found the building citations from the Pawlowski administration mind-numbing; Can you image being held responsible for carnage committed by a previous owner under the City's watch? Mayor Pawlowski, afraid someone might want to invest private money in Allentown and pay real estate taxes, actually had the Neuweiler owner jailed when he came to Allentown to discuss the property. The city, then seized the brewery. The former Neuweiler garages, behind the brewery, had been sold years prior to a roofer. A couple years ago the City purchased the roofer's portion,  reuniting the parcel. In May of 2013,  it was announced that Ruckus Brewing was buying the Neuweiler property from the city, and could indeed use NIZ funds for it's redevelopment.

Ruckus was nothing much more than the hype of a young marketing promoter, represented locally by business consultant Mike Fleck.  It has no actual brewing experience,  no experience operating a brew pub,  no real estate experience,  with a very limited distribution of some small beer labels, brewed by contract  elsewhere.  The business,  a marketing office in New York City, already  featured Neuweiler Brewer's Hill Project on their website, as an accomplishment,  to attract investors.  They were actually seeking outside investors on the web, when given the option by the city in 2013. Given extension after extension by the city, they finally settled on the brewery in 2014.  In February of 2015, they were hooked up with the city commercial and economic development agency,  providing more documentation with which to continue seeking  investors.

Above, I compiled excerpts from my previous posts outlining the City's complicity in distressing a property with a first owner,  then stealing it from a second owner, and finally promoting a third owner, with no capital or relevant experience, but the right connection.   molovinsky on allentown, providing the real story behind local shenanigans.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

As someone that passes by the brewery on a weekly basis, has anything been done to the property in the last decade? Maybe that NJ investor could challenge the city in court if the mayor is brought up on corruption charges.

Rich Fegley said...

When they demolished the chimney, it felt like the building died. Farewell landmark brewery.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this property slated to become the "Hollywood of the East Coast" by this administration and their boosters, or did that come to me in a dream?

Anonymous said...

"Wasn't this property slated to become the "Hollywood of the East Coast" by this administration and their boosters, or did that come to me in a dream?"

Well, there does seem to be a lot more TV cameras around lately. :)

Anonymous said...

The miracle that is Allentown.

Bethlehem Native said...

In your original post about the brewery building, I predicted that Ruckus would never brew beer in the building. I continue to stand by that statement.

michael molovinsky said...

bethlehem@11:23, ruckus supposedly had settlement in early 2014, and were to pay the balance of $600,000 in several installments. if they paid the balance is unknown. they were also suppose to supply the agency with progress reports as part of the agreement. understand that all personnel involved in the allentown end of the transaction, and the compliance monitoring, are pawlowski appointees.



Anonymous said...

Does not Pawloski have a long history of using tax-payer funded loans to start new projects in Allentown.I see He won't help the owner of The Americus

Anonymous said...

What happened with the owners of the concrete recycling plant by the american parkway bridge? Aren't they in court with the city?

Anonymous said...

A little clarification on the Neuweiler Brewery: It was originally purchased by taxicab/trucking/warehousing/catering magnate Bill Finady. His idea was to convert it into a warehouse to replace the firetrap Hummel warehouse at 15th and Sumner (it mysteriously caught fire). Finady, with the help of crew leader Bill Grube (later Cosmopolitan owner) had Sussman Bros. truck loads of copper and stainless steel pipe, valves and other metal scrap out of the buildings. He also had a couple of Germans burning out (with welding torches) the tanks located on various floors, and threw the scrap out of the holes that were knocked out of the walls on the north side of the building. Again, this was done to convert those floors into a warehouse. I think it was costing too much, and the project was abandoned. The shipping room/dock on the first floor was used as a break-bulk operation for J.C. Penney. Thus started the rape of the Neuweiler brewery, long before the current cast of characters

michael molovinsky said...

anonymous@9:04, i have no knowledge of the events that you're referring to. none of them are the friend that i refer to, who i believe was the first person given the property, after the city had procession for the first time. your clarification may predate my post, or you may be describing damage already done. the holes to which i referred are on the back ( east side) of the brew house. the city had control of the property no less than three times already.

Anonymous said...

OK, The events I refer to happened in 1970. By the time Grube and Finady got through with the "salvage" effort, there wasn't much scrap left to grab. Apparently, Finady fell and fell hard. It's possible that he defaulted then lost the brewery. I had the chance to go all through the brewery at that time, and the rape and neglect was already starting. A piece of trivia: What was the last message on the Neuweiler Brewery's sign out front?

Charlie Sch said...

I seem to remember a newspaper article about 10 years ago when hazardous chemicals were left in part of the building, and the city had to clean them up.