Townhouses on the former lots used for safe, convenient parking by the Verizon workers is a done deal. Officially, as reported on the Queen City Blog*, no decision will be made until March 19, but it is a done deal. Authority Director Tamara Weller and Mayor Pawlowski recently met with Verizon workers, and none appeared at the meeting; had they appeared, the ducks were lined up. Redevelopment Director Karen Pooley "happen" to be there with an alternative parking scenario for Verizon worker. The owner of the Dime Bank, "may" buy the parcel across the street from the phone building, and then "might" make it available for Verizon use. Although the official explanation for not closing the deal yesterday is to allow a few small frys an opportunity for review (they also stated they favor the project), Larry Hilliard, City Financial Director, wanted the extra time to negate future charges of a rushed deal. Board member Malcolm Gross wants the actual negotiation done under executive session, that is behind closed doors. By my calculations, the parcel price will be less than ten thousand per townhouse, a gift at our expense, including water and sewage in place. Under the Parking Authority operating charter**, it is unclear to me how they became a real estate developer, but then again I cannot see the big picture like Mayor Ed,
UPDATE: These lots are being sold for less than they cost in 1991 dollars. Although the Authority only declared the lots "excess" on Jan. 14, and only after then supposedly sent out requests for proposals, by Feb.27 we are told nobody besides Zawarski is interested, and he has a detailed proposal complete with architectural renderings. One hundred and twenty four paid parkers are being displaced, to build townhouses with store fronts which are not needed, which may well retard the viability of the existing buildings in that block. These lots were paid for on the backs of many Allentownians paying tickets and fine for many years. If this current Board of Directors is entitled is sell off assets at the Mayor's bidding, should be subject to scrutiny by a larger segment of the public.