Sep 3, 2015

Getting Real About The NIZ and Affordable Housing

Alan Jennings has proposed that 20% of units in new luxury NIZ housing be put aside for low income. Sy Taub believes that now is not the right time. Both Alan and Sy can relax, the low income aspect is already built in. When Reilly built the new Renaissance Hotel, he condemned the Holiday Inn, at 9th and Hamilton, to become a flop house. Furthermore, despite the Morning Call's hype, the Strata Flats will be moderate housing soon enough. Lets be real, both the downtown and the building itself, lack the ambience to succeed with upscale urban dwellers.

Also, while I'm taking the Morning Call to task, here's another problem with today's article. The Morning Call keeps using Alan Jennings and Ce-Ce Gerlach has their go to people for these articles. There are plenty of other critics available in regard to the NIZ. Ce-Ce is a candidate for election in two months. It is a distinct disadvantage to the other candidates that Ms. Gerhart is mentioned, over and over again.

photograph of Millennial Prison Courtyard by The Morning Call

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Alan Jennings pretends to be a voice of the
people and the Morning Call pretends to believe
It.

Anonymous said...

When CUNA attempted authentic advocacy for low income Allentown residents Jennings worked to cut them off at the knees.
The guy's just another egotistical political player in it for his own vanity.

Jamie Kelton said...

Well, there is another new restraunt opening up. More competition for the spend money to go out for dinner crowd. Not a lot else there to do.

You'd think the Strata would at least have a running track to burn off all the carbs from all the restaurants downtown.

Anonymous said...

The reality is that nobody has disposable income in how it used to be defined. NIZ guys think it's out there like it's some lost gold train in Poland but consider:

Kids right out of college have amazingly high levels of college debt and fewer job opportunities. The new reality is you graduate from college and the next day you're sleeping in the bed you left at 18.

Out of college for a few years, you have that debt and you're trying to save for a house.

Low-Middle income wages are stagnant. Most people don't work a full 40 hours anymore.

If you are of retirement age, you might have enough for retirement but probably don't, so you're still working or you are saving every dollar you have for health care and no longer spending it on stuff.

Everything is more expensive. Food. Energy. Healthcare. Food prices, especially.

The number of people who can blow cash on fancy restaurants and upscale boutiques is smaller than ever.

The NIZ was a great idea if it were the early 1970's or late 1990's. But now? Most people are just hanging on.



michael molovinsky said...

the NIZ was never about making center city more prosperous, it was a pretense to make j.b. reilly more wealthy. the stores there will die on the vine. their customer is a suburban, stay at home woman, not someone on their lunch break. that suburban woman will not be visiting downtown, at least not more than once.

Anonymous said...

Alan Jennings is a very smart man. While, I personally believe he is not an evil monster who doesn't care about the less fortunate, I do believe he does things based on where the next best benefit is for his interests and then how do I make this work for the people. It looks really good to make a proposal for affordable housing. Make him honestly answer why it is, this became an afterthought, in a process he has been a part of the whole time. Did anyone else notice the section where there is an opt out to build in another area? Pretty sure it will be in the Upside Allentown areas. Whose running that neighborhood project? Get where I'm going with this?

michael molovinsky said...

@11:13, in addition to the "opt out" in another area, the already announced units are exempt from the proposal, which probably wouldn't be adopted by the NIZ board anyway. between the opt out you mention, and the fact that these apartment in center city will not fly anyway, there's no real meat on the bone for the community benefit crybabies. i call them crybabies, because surprise, surprise, it was never really meant to improve their lot anyway. i do see more potential in the river front apartments, except that for other than the view, they will be wedged between the river and hard core allentown.

Anonymous said...

There is a much more important issue involved here than the interests and personality of Alan Jennings. Although I find his desire for mixed income housing in the NIZ area to be theoretically positive, I question the role of ANIZDA in being able to reach that end in practice. Public authorities are generally implementation agencies as opposed to creators of overall public policy. Determination of policy by a non-elected authority is limited to the discretion given to that authority by the legislative body in the enabling legislation creating and defining the authority. In the Allentown NIZ we have been repeatedly told that the NIZ subsidy must be used for commercial as opposed to residential development. No matter how attractive or unattractive the idea of mixed income residential development may be for Allentown, how does ANIZDA have the legal power to use this factor in evaluating funding for any proposal that meets all the conditions for commercial development as mandated by state law? Is this not a legal question that should be addressed by a competent solicitor long before it becomes a matter of board debate at an ANIZDA meeting?

Anonymous said...

Jennings enduring legacy will show up in your water bill, your children's water bill, and your grandchildren's water bills for many years to come.
It's about his personality because that's the way he has chosen to market himself, and he's nothing if not a media creation.
He's a phony.
He's a suit posing as a representative of the common man. He's the worst kind of hypocrite and we will all pay for his cronyism, again and again.
F&$k him.

michael molovinsky said...

@1:10,, reilly has gotten around the residential prohibition by having commercial on the first floor. now who really monitors the pro-ration, certainly not the local ANIZDA, and i'd bet not harrisburg either. they're making it up as they go along; i have stated before that in 30 years this will be a case studied at wharton on municipal fraud. shame on your state reps, shame on those peanut heads.

michael molovinsky said...

@1:40, i disagree, i find him genuine enough. i have problems with many of the programs his organization runs. essentially it's like united fund; a convenient vehicle for businesses and municipalities to feel better about themselves by helping the less fortunate. should he be making people homeowners or business owners, of course not. but as long as air products and ppl want the write offs and public relations, he offers a ready made vehicle.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, he's genuine all right. He's genuinely supported every program the mayor has forced on the citizens of Allentown.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know the presented cost of a structure like Strata. There must be a certain dollar amount used to determine how much state taxpayers pay the developer to build the place as a gift from all of us.

As the receipts roll in, who verifies the numbers to be appropriate? Is that individual a credentialed design and construction professional? Surely, this person shouldn't be a firm being paid to do the actual work.

For example, who looks at a 10 million dollar (or higher) number for something like electrical work and says "No Way!"

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

The way Jennings treated CUNA says it all.
Currently he's abandoning Easton's West Ward, there's nothing in it for him anymore.
That's the way he rolls.

Chris said...

Assad and Jennings are lifelong friends, which is one reason Jennings is the go-to guy for Assad pieces. 3 1/2 years after CUNA tried to hold NIZ feet to the fire over low-income housing and other advocacy, now this. I want to say better late than never, but we can be sure that most of what will come will only be administered by Alan's own CACLV. Funny that he also sits on ANIZDA. He won't get what he wants, because the powers that be have what they need, and they don't need him.

Anonymous said...

He gets exactly what he wants for his primary constituency. Don't kid yourself. The rest is the sanctimonious windowdressing.
Now shut up and go to work. You got a water bill to pay for.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is perfect, but Jennings does not deserve this criticism. He sometimes has a 'take no prisoners' style, but no one has done more for people in difficult personal struggles than Alan Jennings. The reality is that any of us could find ourselves in difficult personal struggles. The one thing I have noticed about Allentown is that Allentonians are a scrappy lot. They love to criticize and throw rocks at people who try to do positive stuff. Could we not always see the worst in people. Could we have intelligent discourse on issues that matter without character assassination? I'm going to post this anonymously because I don't want the character assassination...or for people to say I'm a lifelong friend with Jennings (I'm not.) Can't we decide that affordable housing makes sense for the NIZ and for Allentown, and that we want more of it...and support those people who propose it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @12:09
I would hardly call this undeserved criticism. The point is, if "affordable housing makes sense for the NIZ and for Allentown", Alan Jennings should have been advocating that from the start. You say no one has done more to help those in difficult personal struggles. Tell that to the residents of a homeless shelter in Easton whose "home" he wanted to shut down. This while spending nearly a million(?) remodeling another Allentown shelter. Please tell that to the westward residents whose neighborhood project can't raise 50k but the Allentown one has a budget of 550k. Molovinsky is right he's a vehicle. That vehicle is just parked where it benefits CACLV. And that is not in Easton. By all means, we should promote the good being done. But let's not give all that credit to Alan. Without the caring people of these communities he would hardly be a success. It's not about not seeing the good in people, it's about pointing out the hypocrisy and and hoping that they are completely genuine and misguided instead of possible having a hand in what is a very corrupt Allentown. Unfortunately, he seems very mixed up in it somehow.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me, Mr. Jennings was a desired choice to serve on the ANIZDA Board. His inclusion immediately gave the impression EVERY circumstance of income was being equally represented in spending such a huge amount of taxpayer dollars. Yes, the arena is just a toy, but it's a toy EVERY resident will enjoy. One day, that is.

Fred Windish

michael molovinsky said...

i'm going to close comments to this post, any future comments on this topic can be submitted to the next post, Blogging Dilemma.