Aug 5, 2015

Tea Leaves, Deed Transfers and The Atiyeh Park Deal

Some people read tea-leafs, I read deed transfers. It would be more accurate to say that I study deed transfer. There has only been two weeks in the last 35 years that I failed to scrutinize the list, and those omissions were failed attempts at relaxation. Recently, I mentioned Kenneth Heffentrager and his Tenant Association of Allentown. Kenneth has become a fixture at City Council meetings, complaining about housing and landlords. Kenneth is going to become a very busy boy. For the last several years the deed transfers have been dominated by landlords buying owner occupied houses. Many of these landlords are new to the business, attracted by $25,000, and even cheaper houses in center city. Landlording is tough for experienced operators, and the learning curve is steep. It will take years for the city to identify all the new landlords, and many will walk away when confronted with the realities of their new venture. Although Allentown has a strategy for Hamilton Street, it needs one for the remainder of center city.

ADDENDUM: The above portion was posted in February of 2014, and titled Allentown's Housing Future. In June of 2014, I published about the parcels purchased from Atiyeh, information I also gleaned from the deed transfers. Blogger Bernie O'Hare believes that these purchases by Pawlowski were intended to help Atiyeh finance a billboard company, I disagree. There is also a claim that the Basin Street purchase was to protect the water supply, I disagree. That parcel, off 2nd and Union, is near the sewer plant, the water supply inlets are near 15th St.  A former park director, Greg Weitzel, was indeed obsessed with connecting the parks with bike paths. At the time I opposed those plans, because of the shortcomings in maintaining existing park features. I believe that the Martin Luther King parcel was purchased with expanded park land in mind. I speculate that the Basin Street parcel was included because Atiyeh out-negotiated the city,  and  Pawlowski's indifference to using public resources to further his own agendas.  I do agree that both parcels were totally unnecessary, and a misappropriation of public funds.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Response to "landlords buying owner occupied houses"
We live on an Allentown block of row homes many of which have changed from owner occupied to rentals. The are rented and it seems that landlords are not aware of their responsibilities one of which is maintaing street trees. Many street trees in Allentown contain dead branches and during storms they fall on the streets and sidewalks. There are many street trees that are failing and nothing is done. Also landlords are not overseeing weed control, trash and recycling rules. Also some landlords maintain that they live in the home and collect Lehigh County tax rebates.