Jun 6, 2016

Allentown Business Journal

We learned last week that the NIZ board gave preliminary approval to J.B. Reilly's plan for Tower 6, his office condo at 6th and Walnut. How they can go through the charade of such procedures, and the Morning Call can report it as news, is beyond me. I don't suffer nonsense well. Also, in last weeks news we learned that J.B. purchased the Morning Call building. In that article, even the newspaper acknowledged the obvious, that he now essentially owns the NIZ district.

The Talen sale to a private energy firm headquartered in NYC could throw a wrench in Janidl's Waterfront project.  Although, he stated that they're not dependent upon one particular tenant,  we know from uptown in Reillyville, that tenants are not growing on trees.  If Allentown loses Talen at the end of the Plaza lease in 2018, it will indeed be a loss.   I for one, was sorry to see PPL spin off Talen in the first place, despite the fluctuations of that sector. Somehow, a PPL which no longer produces electricity,  seems far removed from the company that built that ionic tower in 1928.


Dave said...

The hand-wringing Janidl Development must be intense right now. Talen's sale to its NYC buyers must have origins in the top tier of Talen almost from the time of its formation; lets sell out this company for a quick profit, and head to more warmer climates. The new owners are interested in the former PPL power production assets, not the office staff in Allentown, so when all is said and done, The PPL Plaza will be vacant, the tower will hold the executives of a holding company, and the power plants will be owned by a third company. The Talen executives will be in southern France enjoying the beach at Cannes.

Janidl must also feel used. The move down to the Sixth Ward was likely never the main goal of the Talen executives; but they used Janidl to work a sweetheart deal in case the deal with NYC fell through. So Janidl does the site preparation and soil remediation at the old Steel Mill (all expensive) and now in all likelihood just had the legs pulled out from under him. The PR about not being dependent upon one particular tenant is dubious; it's going to be difficult, if not impossible, to find a firm to move their headquarters to one of the most economically disadvantaged areas of the city; bike paths notwithstanding.

In other cities, I've seen projects with buildings half-constructed have construction stopped on one-day's notice; the tower cranes are dismantled, and the site sits for a year or two until a new buyer can be found. I suspect the same will happen at Front and Tilghman as well.

michael molovinsky said...

dave@7:45, if your scenario comes to pass, or worse, how ironic that allentown lost it's last rail customer for naught, which was located there, bike paths notwithstanding

Geoff said...

Yet again the poor quality of Allentown's "rejuvenation" strategy is exposed.

Making a big bet on large, white-collar work forces at a time when companies are actively trying to automate and remove management functions wherever possible is a poor strategy being tried by probably dozens of east coast cities in steep competition. A city like Allentown better have something better than tax breaks and bike paths on offer (since probably ever trendy-ish fading city is doing the same).

I do agree with those who have advocated a county or regional effort to get Allentown on the right path. There is not enough wealth left in the city to solve these problems, and building a long-term viable economy probably won't happen for the region without the city.

michael molovinsky said...

geoff@4:03, i have for the most part stopped attending municipal meetings. i always shook my head listening to some bureaucrat describe needing the system or plan instituted in another community. allentown spend big money to duplicate baltimore's computer system. last year dozens of municipal suits descended here to see the miracle called allentown revitalization. the secret of course was having pat brown custom design a zone for reilly, in the land of ghost voting.

george schaller said...

You have allowed many to be put to print?! With all the dollar stores inflating the already over inflated real estate development one would think it wouldn't take a mental miget developmentalist to calculate this design?!
No matmatician myself but dollar stores and wallymart the nue American way?!

George Ruth said...

Better now than later on the Talon thing. Imagine if the Jaindl Company had been in the midst of actual construction. What would they do with that humongous property?
Kinda like what will happen when some day in the future (hopefully distant future) we no longer have a hockey team in that 10,000-seat arena. What does THAT get converted to? What I see is a salivating liberal political establishment drooling over the prospect of Section Eight housing along the river.