Feb 24, 2016
Allentown's Arena District, A License To Steal
The owners of PPL Plaza, who are losing Talen Energy to Jaindl's waterfront NIZ, have sued the NIZ for the unfair playing field that the NIZ has created. Attorneys for the NIZ say that the Plaza owners made a bad business decision in 2006, and overpaid for the building. Of course the Plaza owners are correct, an unlevel playing field is an understatement. To add insult to actual injury, the NIZ board has decreed that Jaindl can apply a percentage of the taxes paid by the Talen workers for his debt service. The Plaza owners were not the only owners hurt by the NIZ. Among losses by other owners, Doug Frederick is losing Morgan Stanley, Boyertown lost Penn National, and the Masonic Temple lost Buckno Lisicky.
Although Pawlowski and The Morning Call like to say that Allentown has been revitalized, in truth the revitalization has mostly centered on the wallets of J.B. Reilly, and a few other chosen individuals. While the pre-opening arena hype spoke of 140 events a year, the white elephant stands idle, all but for a few dozen nights.
I have heard speculation that Pawlowski's overdue indictment might be related to pending charges against some principles involved in the NIZ, but I don't believe that they are the fish to be fried. Unfortunately, the NIZ was given a license to steal, from your elected midgets in Harrisburg.