Mar 1, 2008

A Boutique Hotel


Recently I had a conversation with someone familiar with Mayor Pawlowski's vision. The person commented that hopefully the Mayor's plan for the Americus as a boutique hotel comes to fruition. I also had a conversation with a Hamilton Street business woman, who after thirty years, is now reduced to working a second job to supplement her building costs. La Belle Cuisine is moving to Emmaus. Lanta buses ignore the new stops on 8th street, causing riders to walk back two blocks to Hamilton. Verizon workers are losing their safe parking to build townhouses at 7th and Linden. Having a vision for Allentown is fine, but sacrificing existing merchants and inconveniencing long-term employers is morally wrong, and most likely a poor bet.

8 comments:

Mrs. Dottie said...

Boutique Hotel? Tres Chic and trendy. Must cost a fortune to design and decorate individual rooms. Are we anticipating celebrities and socialites to visit Allentown? I would think a "Boutique Hotel" would be a risky venture.

Maybe we(concerned citizens) could organize a fundraiser to help the struggling merchants? It's so unfair to trample on the "little guy" who is a hard working tax paying business owner, so the big shots can have their social events.
The two should be able to co-exist.

And those Verizon workers deserve better.

michael molovinsky said...

boutique properties are usually smallish and in destinations, neither of which applies to the elephant at 6th and hamilton. i'm afraid the current merchants will not survive the loss of those lanta transfer stops. i'm afraid not enough dinks will patronize the new venues, i'm afraid pawlowski and company doesn't understand the market realistically

Veritas said...

The Americus as a "boutique" hotel is like building a skyscraper on a foundation of sand.

The lack of safety on the streets of Allentown underscores and disables any economic development in this city. Economically people vote with their dollars. No one will vote if they are not at the poll.

The businesses that do succeed of late are those that serve the poor. Often they provide much needed necessities but at what cost? One need only look at the prices in some of the pawn shops and the fees charged by Shylock check cashing services to begin to understand this.

Poverty characterizes inner city Allentown. It has chipped away at our communal self esteem for years and we refuse to deal with it. Instead of addressing the issues to enable the people of this city to make a living, we provide quick fix solutions. Many of which provide rich economic returns to a few.

The legitimate businesses that do last, survive on a thread. A change in a bus route is a big issue and can be life or death for the future of that business. Often it is just not the money that keeps them in business, it is the business of being in business and being part of a community that supports their struggle. Yes Virginia, there are some things more important than money in a community. Their survival is critical to the character and culture of Allentown.

Instead our economic planners and "no property tax" barons arrogantly offer up careers (sic) at minimal wage. It does little to change the standard of living and fails miserably at building the real foundation the city needs. Increasingly the growing diversity that characterizes this city is driven further and further apart instead of moving toward a higher degree of integration.

The city of Allentown is a study in contrasts, kind of like Atlantic City. All we need now is lazer lights on the top of PPL to complete the vision and lead the way. Only kidding!

For me the best thing to do would be to tear the Americus down(we have had enough Mendelson's) and throw it in the dumpster with the damn Sal's Spaghetti House sign. What is done is done it is time to move on.

At one time the powers-to-be of Allentown decided to get rid of the pigeons in West Park. They brought in Hawks and nested them on the top of Old Smokey (PPL). Now that the pigeons are gone what are the hawks preying on? Pet cat gone missing lately?

I think there are a lot of hawks in Allentown on both sides of the issue.

Anonymous said...

Michael -

You have already succeeded where few others have. You have apparently identified a portion of the Mayor's "vision" for the city.

Wouldn't it be nice for the Mayor to share his "vision" with residents now, instead of claiming that anything that springs up is part of his "vision".

michael molovinsky said...

anon 9:49, i believe some elaboration is due on my part. from my conversation with the "insider" i got the impression that there was a buyer interested in the americus as a boutique hotel. this insider hoped the mayor could help the buyer close the deal, and thinks the plan would be a big boost for allentown. i felt the notion of a boutique hotel for the americus was so absurd i asked no questions. i believe the mayor's vision for allentown is to ignore the sociological issues and plant enough new buildings around that he can proclaim progress for the 09 election. i'm afraid it's lipstick on a pig. i apologize for anything misleading in my posting.

Mrs. Dottie said...

RE:"lipstick on a pig."

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Veritas makes some good points.
But is the Americus in such poor shape that it should be torn down?

michael molovinsky said...

the americus is the secondl largest building in allentown, next to the ppl tower. in my opinion it is now a very complicated job. mendelson was villainized by everyone, but the building itself is in decent shape. the current scaffold around the base is nothing more than a prop to help the city steal the building. three merchants, two who were longterm and viable, were forced to move, although the electric remains on. although mendelson let the colonial go to seed,(sal's is in better shape than reported) his equity position was the best bet for the americus.(assuming he could be induced to pay his municipal debts) a sizable amount of money was invested in creating a bar on the corner before the city under afflerbach closed the building down. saying anything more than negative about mendelson infuriates people, so i will not go on, except to say my fear is an eventual public takeover by a low-income housing agency; the last thing allentown needs is more income restricted housing.

Veritas said...

I agree. Perhaps The Americus should not be torn down. But, isn't there something else that could be done with it?

Specifically to integrate it's use into the neighborhood in a manner that would bring the citizens of Allentown together instead of separating them further?

This rich and poor development thing is schizophrenic economically and socially.

Nothing like a nice urban dwelling, but to what point when it could be deadly to take a walk out side after dark.

I have run across a number of high price and very beautiful "historic districts" in tourist industry towns. As beautiful as they are, often they seem hollow and superficial.

Kind of like being all dressed up with no place to go.