Feb 8, 2009

Golf Course Shenanigans 2

Original Posting on Dec. 24;
According to an article by Jarrett Renshaw in today's Morning Call, the long term (more than ten years) operator of the restaurant at the golf course has been out maneuvered by Mayor Pawlowski. Although his bid was identical to the successful bidder, the winner provided better answers to a questionnaire; so much for the concept of respecting an existing tenant and his track record. The new tenant, Allentown Brew Works, also has a track record with the city and taxpayers. Jarrett Renshaw writes, "The awarding of the Brew Works contract continues a long line of public support to the Allentown Brew Works, which has enjoyed more than $4.5 million in local, state and federal loans and grants to renovation and construction. The public support includes more than $90,000 in direct taxpayers support from the city of Allentown for design and facade improvements. In addition, the Allentown restaurant sits in a Keystone Opportunity Zone, which means it's exempt from most state and local taxes until 2011."
The decision was not officially made by Pawlowski, but by his five-person committee of city officials. Rumor of this shenanigan has been circulating town for several weeks.
Jarrett Renshaw now reports on the Queen City Blog*, that the out maneuvered operator of the golf course grill, Robert Stanley, appeared before Allentown City Council, to no avail, with over 150 golfer signatures asking the city to retain his Sand Trap Grille. Pawlowski defended his decision to "upgrade" the concession and "create a destination that appeals to more than just golfers." Someone should inform the Mayor, and City Council, that the golf course, parking lot and concession is for the golfers. The only upgrades needed are the elected officials at City Hall.

* http://blogs.mcall.com/allentown/2009/02/local-golfers-armed-with-a-petition-of-150-signatures-stormed-city-council-wednesday-night-to-protesta-recent-recent-decisi.html


Anonymous said...

I transfered this comment, received today, from the Shenanigan 1 post of dec. 24. michael molovinsky
I had an opportunity to see both bids, which included menu and pricing, tournament food pricing, and required a minimum bid of $35000 per year in rent. The current vendor actually bid slightly more than ABW in the rent category. The food and tournament pricing difference was, in most cases, at least 50% higher and close to double for some basic golf course food. As an avid golfer who frequents Allentown MUNICIPAL Golf Course, I can assure you that ABW will quickly realize that the golfing public has no interest in having yet another sports bar/theme restaurant on their course. They will have to make up their supposed $200,000 in improvements
with all the weddings and corporate events they say will flock to their facility. Fat chance.

michael molovinsky said...

second comment transfer from post of Dec. 24. mm

Ex season ticket golfer said;
I found out that there was no questionairre given to the two bidders. A series of questions was asked of each, with not one of the five person committee writing anything down at all. They then came up with a numerical score for each. For example, qualifications of key personnel- Sand Trap Grille 7.9/10 ABW 10/10. Are they kidding, the guy has been there for over ten years and has never had a complaint from a customer, yet he only gets 7.9 and ABW gets a 10.

This is an obvious setup for ABW. I believe that Mayor ED is trying to help ABW which everyone knows is in financial trouble. They are draining the more successful Bethlehem Brew Works to keep their heads above water.
I agree with anon that ABW will be shocked by the lack of customers at their new restaurant. Most of the leagues that usually spent their post round time at the Sand Trap have already made alternate plans. The weekend groups have joined local fire companies for their 19th hole.

Mr Fegley, you should have done a little market research before you got involved with the "little people". The golfers will vote with their feet. I envision another White Elephant similar to Johnny Mananas. Spend your $200,000 wisely. I suggest a CD rather than hoping to lure people to your new restaurant.

michael molovinsky said...

i have serious doubts that improvements at the golf course concession would be from any source other than the usual grants, which have benefited the ABW. this whole deals reeks of arrogance, all City Council members should be outraged, not defending it.

Anonymous said...

Can you please provide one small increment of evidence as to why you state the Allentown restaurant is not doing well.

Every time I am in there it looks as if they are doing great.

michael molovinsky said...

i'd like to clarify that the first two comments on this shenanigan 2 posting are not from me, but i transfered them from the first shenanigan posting of dec. 24.
i do not believe the ABW does well enough to meet a$5 to $7 million dollar nut as they claim, people in the food business tell me that's impossible
the topic here, is whether it was improper for pawlowski to push aside an existing concession, to favor someone else?

Bryan said...

I've been their on many occasions to get a few drinks with friends and the place is almost always empty. Having 3 floors and 3 bars is difficult to maintain. Now, that's just my opinion I could be utterly wrong. Nonetheless, this latest development seems to reinforce the notion.

Anonymous said...

I want to begin my comment by saying I was born and have lived in Allentown most of my 47 years. I have played golf at AMGC since I was a kid. I don't have a membership but do play quite a few rounds there each year. I have had the opportunity to order the customary burger or hot dog along with a beverage during my round. It's typical of what you'd expect at a municipal course.
I have to say I'm a Brew Works fan. I enjoy their beers along with their brew pub menu. I do realize that the price for food and beer is a concern to those who spend alot of time hanging at the course. If The Brew Works can keep that in line I think it will be a tremendous upgrade to what is currently there. I do believe it will become more of a dedination location for a meal and a few good beers.
This is really a fight against change. The most important rule in business is, the one constant is change. Those who don't abide by this rule ussually find themselve pushed aside while another more progressive thinking business takes over.
Only time will tell if the city made the right decision.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 11:35, this shenanigan is almost a crime. the sand trap owner was given one week notice to vacate his equipment, resulting in a major loss. the concession was never meant to be a dinner destination. over 150 golfers have protested, and these signatures were obtained during freezing weather in mid january. let pawlowski concern himself with the mess he has created on hamilton st. the ousted operator should have sought a court injunction stopping this outrage.

Four Putt said...

Perhaps the former owner has a legal argument. The so-called Director of Golf informed him in very early December that he had been awarded the bid. Three weeks later, he was told that he had to vacate the premises in eight days, four of which were 12/24, 12/25, 12,30, and 12/31. Quite a slap in the face to a guy who had been there for over ten years.
By the way, the
Director of Golf was a member of the five-person committee! I would like to see the other numerical scores assigned if a ten year vet scored lower than an outside bidder. If Ex Season ticket could let us know the other scores, I'm sure there would be other discrepancies. Not one member had a pen and notepad, they must have good memories, or they had already decided on the outcome.

Squirrel said...

Fight against change?

When most of the improvements in Allentown are about eating and drinking?

You guys better get a better business model. This one does not seem to be working? i.e. Federal Grill, Johnnie Manana's, LaBaidos, etc.

Allentown is much more than food, drink, KOZs and a fascist parking authority.

Everyone wants a super hero! Sorry it just is not the current mayor.

Anonymous said...

Have the names of the committee of five been revealed? I would imagine that it would be a very revealing list.

Joe Hilliard said...

Good work Mike. Could you post the details of the bids?

Allentown is turning into Little Chicago. And if Pawlowski could get a bad hairpiece, he would not be much different than Blagojevich.

How do we get the Feds to start looking into this crap?

KathyD said...

While I am a Brewworks fan (I love their beer!), I find it incredibly sad that Pawlowski so obviously chose favorites at the expense of an entrenched and loyal Allentown business owner. This reminds me of what he did to the business tenants of the bottom floor of the Americus.

All of the dollars and time and energy the city gives the Fegleys ought to be spent on FIGHTING CRIME. Sorry to say that Allentown has far bigger issues to tackle than the quality of beer at the muni golf course.

Anonymous said...

Our dear Mayor Punxsutawney Ed, crawled out of his hole, saw a way to reward The Brew Works with another sweet deal, made the call to them and then returned to his hole.

Ex Season ticket holder said...

I noticed that the Mayor has a breakfast planned for tomorrow morning. Surprise, Surprise, it's being held at the Allentown Brew Works. Can the patronage become any more obvious? Our City Council sits on their hands and watches this.
ABW has promised $200,000 in improvements at the Golf Course.My information is that, so far, they are keeping the old bar, replacing the carpet and getting new equipment. That's a long way from 200K, but who's checking? Nobody will be checking and all will be forgotten in a few months. Sounds like Breach of Contract, but time will tell.
Don't worry Ed, when you lose next November, you always have a home at the Allentown Brew Works.

Anonymous said...

really,someone wrote the one constant in business is change,listen genius,try telling that to yocco's,white house hoagies,patt's

Anonymous said...

i was there.the city council shot down our petition by stating there are 50,000 rounds a year at allentown but only 150 signed petitioners.council doesn't research too much.i personally am responsible for 130 rounds at allentown.i guess i should have signed the petition 135 times

Anonymous said...

hey brewwoks,your a bunch of suckers.your spending 200,000 for a 3 year contract.you have no chance on recapturing half that.besides,council stated and its on record and video,they dont care if you fail,allentown gets 200,000 in improvements free anyway you look at it.you might want to find a new business manager

Mister Ed said...

Today is Feb 27 and not one bit of work has been done on the NEW and IMPROVED Golf Course restaurant. City workers tore out the old carpet. That's it. The course officially opens on March 1. ABW has some work to do to spend their supposed two hundred thousand in improvements. Well, at least the pro is selling coffee and donuts in his shop (on the odd occasion when he is actually there) I wonder if ABW is paying the full 35000 rent since the space in not
fit for occupancy. I am betting they will not pay the full amount.
What a complete fiasco. Who suffers but the golfers and, of course, the former owner. Another great job Eddie.
Can we start a fund for a one-way ticket to Chicago?????