Nov 9, 2015

Life Not At Strata


Just when I thought that The Morning Call was through with the Strata Flats infomercials, they doubled down with Life At Strata. Impressive arena, trendy restaurants, and flourishing downtown are the adjectives just from the first two sentences. They profile three tenants; Young professionals who moved from Austin to teach at Muhlenberg, a full time arena director, and an older empty nester couple. The article is a hoot. The happy campers mention the name of their favorite restaurants, some of which have been open now for three whole weeks. Traditions, gotta love traditions. It's good that they love these restaurants, because it's a long way to Wegman's to go grocery shopping. If the reporters writing these articles are offended by my criticism, perhaps they should consider the other 60,000 tenants living downtown, it's called, Life Not At Strata.

16 comments:

Reality Bites said...

That entire article was actually written on glossy paper and had fold lines in it for distribution at the rental office of the apartment complex

Clearly there must be some serious issues renting those apartments, otherwise they wouldn't be writing all the b.s. articles in The Morning Call.

Anonymous said...

Oh for petes sake Mike don't be such a naysayer, such a bucket of cold water. Those shills (I mean dupes, oops no I mean tenants) have a perfectly good grocery store right on theit block. Its open 24 hours a day. I've read that the place even accepts its own line of 44 calibre "credit".

michael molovinsky said...

@5:49, that's my hunch. i had some back channel communication with a tenant, who states that a number of apartments have been rented by corporations, for future use by their employees. meanwhile, those units are empty. i suspect that there is a considerate amount of vacant units; come get them while they're still hot.

it took years to fill up the Farr Lofts, while it was reported that they went like hotcakes. zawarski townhouses eventually had to be auctioned off at fifty cents on the dollar.

michael molovinsky said...

@6:37, i believe that the 7/11 may be demolished to build a new cigarette warehouse, where reilly and topper can harvest $1.60 per pack toward their empire. as much as the NIZ is a bad deal for pennsylvania, the cigarette tax loophole is just outright corrupt. it shows what lackeys keep getting voted, election after election, to the statehouse.

Anonymous said...

Friend moved in last weekend--I helped him move in. Apartments are very small but very nice. I was most impressed with the communal areas. HUGE lounge on second floor with all the amenities. Also balcony deck is beautiful. Front desk was very accommodating during move-in.

I know this might interrupt all the negative comments you get from people never in the place but wanted to offer something from someone actually inside.

michael molovinsky said...

@7:20, i would hope that brand new apartments are very nice. i have no problem with the strata promoting itself, or even exaggerating it's occupancy in that endeavor, i do however have a problem with the morning call promoting them, and presenting it as news. about 6 weeks ago, after the first of three articles by the call about how rented up the property was, i stood outside to find a tenant. one finally came out, 20 minutes later. they rented to him with no security, no last month, and prorated the first month. he had seen very few other tenants, but also repeated the story that a large number of apartments were vacant, but rented by corporations. my name is michael molovinsky, what is your name, and the name of your friend who moved in?

Unknown said...

I'd love to see a "life not at strata" article, but i don't think it would be as dire as many like to predict. I love living in center city allentown (granted, i'm pretty new to living in center city but have been in the west end beforehand).

anyways, i talk to lots of residents and many of my friends have moved to town recently. i do not own a car and find supremo to be a great new addition to town. lots of very cheap restaurants around. beautiful buildings being touched up every day, and my rent is cheaper than it was when i lived in south dakota. i have fears of rising property values, but as it stands, i find allentown to be a very exciting place, not a downtrodden place with a Potemkin village in the center.

my reasons for loving it are different than the ones the morning call pushes, but i'm more concerned with my day to day life than a newspaper presenting positive news instead of the normal dreariness. i'm glad that you and the other local bloggers function as watchdogs for corruption, but i just felt the need to chime in with some love for my city.

- billy mack

spencer said...

"I stood outside to find a tenant. one finally came out, 20 minutes later"

What time of the day was this? Also there is a walkway connected to the City Center Linden parking deck. You might get a better count that way.



" i suspect that there is a considerate amount of vacant units" -- Jury is out on this one. Like I said, there may be empty units, but are the ones available for lease? I don't think so. A month ago it was common to see tours given by building management. I no longer see that anymore, so I think they have leased all that they can.

And to the Anon earlier who said the rooms are small, but nice. I agree. They are a bit small, and im in a 2 bedroom. Its the one legitimate compliant I have about this place considering how much we are paying for it.

Anonymous said...

@8:04am "a large number of apartments were vacant, but rented by corporations"

When I moved to Atlanta in 1992, it was a corporate sponsored-move. We had done a house-hunting trip (two actually) and we moved waiting for closing on the house we bought. The company had available about a dozen apartments for transient employees that were coming and going.

That wasn't all that unusual 20 years ago, but in current times, expenses like that have been cut dramatically and today that type of benefit is provided for senior managers usually... not mid or entry-level employees any longer.

Also there aren't any large corporations in the NIZ, so if what you are saying is correct, one has to wonder just what those arrangements are that are being offered, and who has made them with City Center Development.

Are the apartments thrown in as an incentive to lease the office space, for example?

michael molovinsky said...

bill @8:48, glad that you're part of a growing demographic that is enjoying center city allentown. looking forward to visiting your coffee shop, located in alternative art gallery, on 4th, north of tilghman. i don't think that the newspaper should be pushing positive or dreariness, but news, as factual as they can muster. being a moderated blog, comments sent here will often not appear for many hours, especially if submitted in the evening.

michael molovinsky said...

@9:49, my guess is that those apartments really aren't rented. it's a renting strategy, to make the project appear more desirable. reilly owns his own hospitality company, which owns and is operating the hotel, including the dime restaurant.. he also operates the starbucks and at least one of the new restaurants. the dime appears to be poorly run. i heard at least two complaints about the same hostess. pennrose properties partnered with reilly with the strata, but apparently tommy williams from city line construction is the partner for the announced strata annex on n. 6th street.

alfonso todd said...

MM, I spoke to an inside connection at 7 / 11 and they are NOT planning to sell anytime soon. This is a corporate owned one and they have been offered millions for it. Their reasoning is why would they leave when things are just beginning to get good? Which is the same reason why gentrification won't work in Allentown either. People have transported themselves from metropolitans that consisted of much higher crime, violence, higher taxes, and cost of living, so why would we move now? If anything, it won't be the businesses moving in or higher rents that move individuals out, it will be the desire to have their children educated in a decent public school surrounding with less focus on news worthy drama and more focus on education.

- Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

The future is so bright I gotta wear shades.

Billy Mack said...

i agree with that. unbiased factual news is a tricky endeavor. that's why i'm always trying to pursue as many sources as possible. the morning call isn't the best or worst i've ever seen. i think these articles are interesting but definitely are a bit pointed. i know how much negative press and chatter goes around about allentown and i suppose i let it slide a bit because i feel like it's nice to hear some positive words (though i'd love to hear this kind of talk about other parts of the city). that said... it can seem a bit insincere. - thanks for the thoughtful response and i look forward to seeing you at the shop!

michael molovinsky said...

alfonso@11:12, yes, i agree that nobody need not worry about gentrification overtaking downtown. it will be an enormous accomplishment if even the "facts" in morning call articles become reality. that said, i do consider the strata an important positive for center city. it provides a housing option for the demographic with a higher disposable income than most other apartment units available in downtown. the new supremo market is certainly also a positive for 7th street and center city.

monkey momma said...

I took a look at the article. Honestly, the place looks great. But, I'd be curious to get to the bottom of those inflated rental numbers. (Of course, we never will.)

Alfonso Todd is exactly right - it will be demand for better schools that keep propelling people out of the city. Grace Montessori (mentioned in the article as where a 3 year old goes) is an excellent school - my son attended that school for preschool - but it's going to be a totally different world when that kid ages out of the school. (They teach kids up to Grade 5, I believe. My son only stayed until he went to Kindergarten here in Parkland.) I don't care how liberal you are, you're not going to want your kid in the ASD if you can help it. Almost anyone with means will choose private schools over the ASD public schools, which brings into question the overall affordability of "Life at Strata."

And while this 3 year old enjoys riding his trike around the rooftop garden and the courtyard, how long will that entertain him? Will mom and dad allow him to ride around the block when he's, say...seven? I'd bet money this couple is only renting for a year there...two max.