Nov 14, 2008

Morning Call Pimps Brew Works


The Morning Call blog, Queen City Daily, which only does about one post a week, is promoting real estate for the Brew Works*. I have to pay to advertise real estate, and pay dearly. The available space at the Brew Works is completely overhauled and upgraded. The reporter failed to mention the Brew Works received between five and seven million dollars in taxpayer grants** to pay for those improvements. I have to improve my property through savings and bank loans. The space at the Brew Works is being promoted by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation. I have to stand outside in the dark, waiting for prospective tenants to show up at my property. The reporter who wrote this piece for the Morning Call is well intentioned, he is just not cognitive of the inequalities our politicians have inflicted upon the marketplace. Here's some questions I would ask; Who owns the Brew Work Building? Who would receive the income from either the rental or sale of the upper floors? Has the building been legally subdivided? Who decides which owners benefit from the LVEDC promotions?

* http://blogs.mcall.com/allentown/2008/11/for-sale-or-ren.html

** There has been a smorgasbord of subsidies bestowed upon this project. Relief from taxes under the KOZ, some are outright grants, such as facade, others are HUD loans, which can be forgiven. There has also been unique considerations from the Parking Authority and other promotions funded by taxpayers.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Michael,

I must take exception with this post. I must admit that you regularly have posts which serve a great purpose and please keep up the digging. However, I really think you need to better understand the situatuion before you make inflamatory statements. First of while the Allentown Brew Works did receive some grant funding they did not receive $5-$7 Million in grant money. the $7 million was loans that the Fegley family is required to pay back and has been paying back. While the loans do have a provision for forgivness no move has been made to do this and no request has been made to even consider this. Michael, I would ask you have you ever even stepped foot inside the Allentown Brew Works? Why don't you ask to speak with any of the Fegley's to ask them your questions? Why don't you ask to see the spaces upstairs to see if you feel they are appropriate? Michael, as I stated earlier I feel you raise many valid points but just because you don't like a project or are jealous of the fact a project received help doesn't make it a bad project. The Fegley Family has made a signifigant investment into down town, this is not some fly by night operation. They have over ten years expierence running restaurants in the Lehigh Valley. Please before you blast people you have made signifgant contributions to the community, and people who I consider personal friends please do you home work. I have broken a cardinal rule by posting this. You can aske anyone who knows me., I have stated that I will not ever post on a blog. I have read things on many blogs that I have wanted to respond to and have not. I felt in this case however that the record need to be set straight, and just to prove how strongly I feel about this I am signing my name to this for all to see.

Courtney A. Robinson

michael molovinsky said...

ms. robinson, i met the fegleys, my impression is that they are hard working, sincere people. although i can certainly understand why my comments would be taken personally, they are not intended to offend the fegleys. probably if any entity should be entrusted with such public amenities, they are appropriate candidates. my issue is with the playing field in allentown. although pawlowski wants to make hamilton street a destination, would you want to open a restaurant with your competition so publicly subsidized? what did the federal grill or bayleaf receive? (nothing). i wish the fegleys and the brew pub success, but i want the administration to realize that they are not the only business in allentown that counts. there are many people who have also invested their years and money into allentown. thank you for your comment

Anonymous said...

Michael,

I am glad to hear that you have met with them and that you are hopeful for their success. I understand your point about trying to send the Mayor a message, but it does seem to the outside observer that you are targeting the Fegley's exclusively. My main point is that they are making a major contribution to the local community through investment. I agree that it is unfortunate that the Bay Leaf and the Federal Grill did not receive such assistance, but I do not think that the Fegley's or the Mayor should be blamed for the fact that previous City and State administrations have not had the foresight to help businesses receive grant funding to invest in our city's as opposed to the suburbs. Perhaps if they had we would not see the large development of green space in the Lehigh Valley

Courtney A. Robinson

Anonymous said...

Just as an FYI, It is Mr. It is a common mistake.

Courtney A. Robinson

Anonymous said...

Michael,
You asked who owns the Brew Works building: the Fegleys own the whole things, all 5 floors. They bought it for $1 from the redevelopment autority.

michael molovinsky said...

in allentown there are very few buildings which have segmented ownership. although in new construction private and common area's can be deeded for condominiums, the division process is very difficult in existing buildings. the queen city blog refers to the 4th and 5th floor being available for lease or sale. my guess is that presently there is one deed. in regard to guessing, a explanation is in order. currently on LV Rambling, on bernie's post about my previous gate posting, someone states I "create" information and present it as facts. I never do that, however, often I do not offer proof or examples. I withhold the proof or examples to spare both property owners and fellow concerned citizens. although i endeavor to point out inequalities in government, it is not my intention to bring consequences upon anyone. I would like to thank mr. robinson for providing me an opportunity to express that my observations are not meant as personal insults to anyone, including mayor pawlowski. i believe allentown has created an uneven playing field, but i do not question anybody's integrity in implementing that mistake.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Seams you hit a nerve here, and once again a query into an Allentown affairs is labeled as a personal attack, all to silence you and anyone else who dares to question the facts on the ground here. Keep up the good work Mike; those of us who know what’s going on understand the city’s government is working better for some people than the rest of us.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Courtney,

Questioning how favors/tax revenues are distributed by our elected officials is an essential element of good government. Anyone who engages public funds, whether granted or borrowed, for a private project must be ready to accept public scrutiny with grace. Anyone doing business with the likes of Ed Pawlwoski must understand that they may be judged by the company they keep.

Scott Armstrong

Bill said...

I know little about the city politics of this matter, but I do eat at the Brew works with my wife about once weekly. We like the place and are happy to include it in the places we eat downtown such as the Bay Leaf and Robata's. The Brew Works is often bustling with business and it is great to see people coming downtown again. As far as Johnny Manana's, we tried the place twice and the food was not good, which in the end was why it failed.

Seems to me that there is something going on that could be built on in respect to the ABW. Micheal I appreciate your posts on downtown and you add some important perspectives that I find worthwhile. I just don't understand the venom that some seem to have reserved for the brew works.

The point is that I want to see a renewed Downtown as much as anyone. While I agree that the city has been insensitive to some of the merchants and have implemented policies that have at times reduced foot and hurt some of the business, it is also true that there is an increase in business as a result of the ABW. I also hope that the points you have raised about existing merchants are heard as well as they deserve to be heard and supported as well.

In the end, it seems to me that circling the wagons and shooting at each other will not help the downtown. It almost seems to me that some would like to see the APW fail for some kind of perverse reason and that bothers me. We plan to support the brew works and other business as we see that as an important aspect of revitalizing our city.

Respectfully,

Bill

michael molovinsky said...

bill, you say there is an increase in business because of the brew works? i cannot imagine which businesses your referring to. on the other hand, the existing merchants are down 40% because of the lanta changes, and some have actually gone out of business. i meet the fegleys while they were supporting zarwarski to built townhouses on the parking authority lot used by the verizon women workers, who would have to walk 2 blocks at 10:30 at night so nic could build townhouses at 7th and linden. the fegleys did not support the merchants in their protests against lanta. that said, i actually wish the fegleys and the brew pub success, but they are part of a small group who think their success is more important than the existing merchants. allentown could have easily worked on gentrifying the 800 block without harming the existing merchants in the 700 block. i don't share the notion that 50 suburbanites at night is more valuable than hundreds of bus riders during the day. there is an irony affecting the success of the revitalizing effort. i can assure you that "bus people" are better than no people. nothing is worse than an empty street. bill, although you refer to supporting the brew pub and other businesses, i think you would be hard-pressed to mention one other. the lanta changes cost hamilton the rite-aid and mish-mash among others, the parking authority tickets chased away the fitness center. Despite the brew pub, downtown is worse off than ever before. the new buildings (butz, ppl plaza, brewpub, cityline) remain largely unleased, making previous existing space almost impossible to rent. there is a big picture which involves more than four properties, i wish they would look at it.

Anonymous said...

Bill,

Enjoy your time in our downtown; I for one go other places for entertainment. Downtown Allentown is far too depressing and dangerous to be leisure destination.

Scott Armstrong