Mar 2, 2017
Shine Off Allentown
Only a couple years ago City Center was claiming that there was a waiting list for it's storefronts. There was no need to promote, the Morning Call was doing that for them. Now, we see the NIZ's prime developer looking for merchants. Truth to be told, some of their remaining merchants are on life support. A $Billion dollars of taxpayer money later, Hamilton Street has less foot traffic than before the NIZ, certainly in the previously busy 700 block.
Nothing about this change of commercial fortune surprises me. Beyond eating lunch, the office workers have no time for shopping. After work their only interest is exiting Dodge as fast as they can. Although, too many vacancies have occurred to still claim store or restaurant demand, the apartment myth is still being sung by Reilly and his Morning Call. Unless they learned how to clone millennials, the reality of that situation will also be apparent soon enough.
Despite my on going critical analysis, I have become a supporter of the NIZ and other such incentives, provided that they used in an equitable fashion. The marketplace has imposed its own restrictions on City Center LLC. The massive twin tower projects are on hold. Besides the City Center portfolio, my concern rests with the existing prior building owners. The NIZ will not succeed surrounded by idle buildings. I would hope that after the current new projects are completed, City Center and the other vested interests work on rising the tide for all owners.