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.

8 comments:

Dave said...

What downtown Allentown needs are two things. It needs a Claude's or a Wally's. A place that sells out of town newspapers and cigars...

The other thing is an all-night diner. Somewhere to go at 3am for a cup of coffee and a hot roast beef sandwich.

It's thing such as this that give a city character. That's what's wrong with the NIZ. It's so sterile.. so devoid of... character.

Scott Armstrong said...

No Mike I feel some negativity. What we need is more positive thinking, more positive thinking. Keep the faith...Hallelujah!

By the way, the Hook closed.

Jeffrey Anthony said...

Whether it's Allentown or anywhere else, if there is an intelligent business case to be made for redevelopment, you'll have investors involved in doing it, if not, you won't.

When you need to use tax dollars, you are almost assured that the project has no merit.

Someone should try to float a bond for this nonsense and see how far they get...

I never could get why that is so difficult for so many people to understand.

doug_b said...

As I said in another post - you need a Strategic Plan.

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

What Allentown and all inner cities need is to have people with incomes to live in the city, If they believe you can entice enough people to come to the city for events and survive on that is a failed plan. You need to actually have people with disposable incomes live in the neighborhood. It will be a long tough haul to have that happen.

JoshLCowen said...

What the NIZ needs is another gin mill.
In a recent (my first ever) dinner in the NIZ I took the MM test and checked out the windows in many of the Strata buildings. Not more than a few windows lit at 9 p.m.
Who are the ghost tenants?

Jamie Kelton said...

I suspect there isn't a lot of noise living in Strata I.

I remember living in a similar type apartment right after college in Philadelphia. It's group living at it's best, with slamming doors and the sounds of every tenant's waste disposal. Along with the occasional disagreement that you can hear.

TRENT HALL said...

When 9:00 PM is midnight at downtown A-town, it is going to be difficult to entice investors to operate a 24 hour all night diner there. And without such a spot(s)to congregate and eat, as Dave said, folks will have no incentive to venture there at night, save for the occasional Arena sporting event.

In the 1950's golden era, there weren't alot of attractions downtown either, save for the movie theaters and some bars. But, late night downtown activity wasn't necessary then, for high school graduates could obtain plenty of union wage manufacturing jobs and people had to get up in the morning to work. People had disposable income and unemployment had been virtually unknown since 1942 (our entry into the war economy).

There apparently simply aren't enough professional service/retail/government jobs in A-town to attract the desired clientele to live in the Strata.