Jul 18, 2016

Allentown's Wild and Crazy NIZ


As if the most lucrative state subsidy program in history wasn't enough, Pat Browne threw a few more goodies in the bag for J.B. Reilly, in this most recent state budget. The hotel tax, instead of going to the Visitors Bureau and usual beneficiaries, will be retained by the NIZ, for the hotels within the zone. Browne's explanation was that such a thriving district needs more quality hotel rooms. I think what he means is that Reilly's Renaissance Hotel is so dead in the water, it needs its taxes back. The only public figure to question this nonsense was Tom Muller. Michael Schlossburg voted for it three times, his own and two ghost votes.  However, in his defense,  he like the rest of our midgets in Harrisburg, really didn't know what they were voting for, they seldom do.  The fact that Browne could stuff this into the budget, illustrates what we suffer as state government.

Elsewhere in this weekend's Morning Call, Manuel Gamiz wrote in regard to a new police officer,  (his)old neighborhood began to transform into the thriving downtown shopping, dining and entertainment district that it is today. Manuel must have interned under Matt NIZ Assad.  However,  Assad and Scott Kraus did do an excellent job on this hotel tax article.

9 comments:

Dave said...

The Renaissance Hotel is open what, two years now? Long enough for the new car smell to dissipate and economic reality to rear it's head. It must be apparent by now to Marriott that this hotel isn't going to be a moneymaker for them. And it's going to go the same way that the Hilton chain sold their property at Ninth and Hamilton.

So an infusion of cash from the taxpayer was needed to keep the bushiness viable. However this is just putting off the inevitable. Reilly I believe owns the property, but the Marriott chain has their name on the building and is used to successes. Marriott may very well sell off the name to another chain, perhaps Choice, who holds the Quality Inn and Clarion brands.

However, basic economics will not be denied and I suspect it's going to go the same way as the old Allentown Motor Inn did at 4th & Hamilton eventually.

Robert Burritsch said...

As I understand it, the Americus Hotel is to open in the foreseeable future. How many hotels does downtown Allentown need? More importantly, how many are economically sustainable? Other than the arena, which lacks any events that necessitates significant numbers of people staying overnight or for any length of time, there's no reason for people to stay in downtown Allentown, at least as far as I can tell.

michael molovinsky said...

robert@9:51, the article states that the money will probably go to the hilton, or americus, but not the renaissance. i don't believe it. i don't believe that browne would have gone to the effort of slipping it into the budget for any recipient other than reilly. furthermore, i doubt if we will ever know, because there is no accounting or scrutiny of the NIZ funds, even by the state.

doug_b said...

Hotel's in downtown Allentown? I just checked out the Renaissance - $264 a night. This is laughable, no, sad. How many people have business in Allentown and want to pay that price.

More like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

george schaller said...

MM,
Doug has it almost right, more like the circus shell trix starting with the MMO pension problem capitol CURE¿¡

George Ruth said...

Doug_b is correct. With the evacuation of Mack, turning PPL and Air Products into out-of-town run companies, and Talen on the ropes locally, there is not enough opportunity to fill that hotel with $235 a night expense account guests.
One can pay $125 a night in a beautiful resort in Florida vs. $235 at 7th and Linden. Well, at least there is the 7-11 on the corner.

BiIII said...

I thought the Call article said that the hotel tax money will be used to renovate hotels in the NIZ. Does this exclude the Renaissance hotel, since it is brand new?

michael molovinsky said...

billi@9:02, please see my 10:04 am response.

Geoff said...

Taking the tax revenue as a basis--it would appear that the hotel grossed about 6 million dollars of revenue for the year. Probably not awesome, but perhaps not catastrophic yet given the tax cushion the hotel has now.