Aug 11, 2009

Tip For Snooks

The sign in the photo comes from the crybaby immigrant who operated the diner at 9th and Linden. He had heard stories that if he came to America, worked hard and saved his money, this was the land of opportunity. The snook thought when he bought the diner he need only work from early in the morning till late at night to get his share of the pie. Sure, seven day weeks are hard, but the bus stop always provided a new customer or two. Snook didn't know about Pawlowski's plan to move Allentown forward. All those bus stops would be centralized to the Lanta terminal at 6th and Linden, even the Hamilton Street merchants wouldn't be spared.

When Butzy was enticed to build his office building at 9th and Hamilton, it's good to be Butz, the stage was set for the revitalization of Hamilton Street. The riffraff bus people who populated the boatpeople stores would be rafted down to the new Lanta terminal at The Morning Call Square. Last Christmas Lanta even provided a shuttle bus to bring the marginal back to Hamilton Street as a concession to the merchants, but the shopping habits had already changed. Rite Aid is returning, in spite of our poor planning, because of a fluke with their 7th Street building. Back to Butzy, tenants never materialized for his building, and there is less business on Hamilton Street than ever. The Chamber of Commerce, after saying there was no need to be in Allentown and selling their Walnut Street building, "changed" their mind, and opened an office at Butz's. The County moved it's Visitor Bureau there, but there's only so many connections available. The prime first floor space has remained empty since construction in 2006, but that's about to change. Although our state income tax will likely rise, there's a grant coming Butz's way for his tax free KOZ building. With a start up grant of over $350.000, an Easton restauranteur will open an upscale blah blah blah this spring. If you eat there, you have already left a tip.

ADDENDUM: Apparently Pawlowski is willing to pay for everything, even the kitchen sink. In addition to the 350k from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program, listed as 9th and Hamilton, there is another grant application from DCED for the prevention and elimination of blight under section 4 of the Housing and Redevelopment Assistance Law on behalf of Alvin H. Butz, this time using the actual street number, 840 Hamilton St. Who would think a new building would qualify for funds under blight elimination? In a few years, not unlike the Brew Works, it will be impossible to trace the subsidies provided.

ADDENDUM 2: A little more sugar; R60 Economic Development Liquor License for 840 West Hamilton Street.


  1. With a daylight stabbing at the next corner, can't imagine anyone going to that new Butz upscale (nice word for expensive) restaurant.

  2. MM,

    I really liked that diner and it is now a part of a "Sheriff's sale" ? The owner employed local residents as waitresses, cooks, and dishwashers. He used his own ingenuity, money, and know-how and renovated the building. He was often seen walking around and utilizing the local businesses like the nearby barbershops.

    I thought we WANTED more businesses like this in A-town?

    Alfonso Todd

  3. Last Christmas Lanta even provided a shuttle bus to bring the marginal back to Hamilton Street

    What ever happened to the Trolleys?

    Having a social worker for a Mayor is a little like bringing a knife to a commercial gun fight.
    Allentown's Hamilton Street problems go deeper than a bus route change (though changing the routes didn't help). Rebuilding a city's economic base requires a bit more than a few new buildings.
    The mayor fought the Malls and the Malls won. It is just as easy to get on a bus and go to the LV Mall as it is to take a bus to Hamilton to shop at Family Dollar and Rite Aid (which I suspect will leave Hamilton asap).

  4. "If you eat there, you have already left a tip."

    That would be more than Pawlowski does.

  5. The Chamber of Commerce, after saying there was no need to be in Allentown and selling their Walnut Street building, "changed" their mind, and opened an office at Butz's.

    You clearly did not substantiate that claim. The chamber was determined to stay in center city allentown but didn't like being in the business of owning a property and being a landlord. So they sold the building to a non-profit and moved from the cluster of lawyers offices to Hamilton Street. Follow the chamber's other offices in the cities and you'll notice a trend: they are located in the central business district: Bethlehem office is on Main Street, Easton office is on Northampton Street.

    Shoddy reporting at best. My guess is that you probably didn't talk to anybody at the chamber. Care to share any other claims you make without talking to the people making a decision? Did you even talk to this business owner? I'm willing to blame King Ed for a lot of problems, but if you keep making up claims on behalf of other people, you open yourself up to being fully discredited and fabricating the truth. We can't afford to have the alternative vision of allentown diminished b/c it doesn't do its homework.

  6. anon 11:53, actually i'll stand behind my claim, i recall when they sold the building to the hispanic american organization they said they no longer needed a central office in allentown. if i recall they didn't move directly to the butz building, but only came back to allentown and the butz building after at least a few months. more importantly, only after butz and his associated architectural office remained the only tenants. please include your name in any rebuttal.


    Hall of Fame stuff from you all around, today.

    "Knife to a commercial gunfight"

    "Rebuilding a city's economic base requires a bit more than a few new buildings."



    How much courage and conviction, let alone heart and character, do you suppose it takes to post anywhere, anytime as "ANON"?

    Forget it. I already know.

  8. anon 11:53, comment back anonymously if you prefer, here's the question; are you saying that the chamber moved their office directly from walnut st. to the butz building without a time interruption?

    ironpig, i think without anonymous comments there wouldn't be much interaction in the local blogosphere.

  9. Mr. Molovinsky,
    Someone said the Chamber sold their Walnut St. property for $1.
    No idea if true or not.

  10. it's not true, HAO had a fund drive. sometimes transfers listed in paper for $1 for privacy reasons. mailing address is 462 W. Walnut, but not coming up on assessment page. the assessment page is very fussy, sometimes mailing and legal address different. may be 458 to 466 walnut plus or minus. may or may not need W for west.. i believe it was around 350k and predates butz building by at least a year or two.

    while i'm at it, i don't think much of the Chamber of Commerce. they had done nothing for the merchants of hamilton st., no comment from them on lanta, no comment on the metal gate change-outs last year, etc. i also don't think much of their vision meeting last year. (no offense to M.H)
    was there not a landlord on hamilton street besides butz which could have used a tenant? whenever tony I. announces their meet and greet meetings, there always out at some hotel on rt. 100 etc.

  11. Thank you for that clarification. Sounds like that $1 is where the rumor started. Must agree as far as chamber gatherings. Cannot remember last one held in a downtown Allentown hotel.

  12. MM,

    I didn't comment earlier, but I used to work for the chamber and left right around the time of the transition (about 2 or 3 months before the move, I moved to a different organization). They moved straight from the walnut street office to the hamilton street office (happened in about May of 2007). As an employee, I was told several times it was about getting out of the burden of owning a building.

    Other issues aside, you are wrong about the relocation to Hamilton Street, unless you have information that I, as a former employee, did not have. At the same time, the chamber sold it's bethlehem building (now a restaurant) and is now renting at Main Street Commons. The chamber has certainly moved toward renting rather than ownership. I would contact somebody at the chamber if you are really interested in knowing how all of that transpired. Perhaps you have it all confused with the convention and visitors bureau. I know they were in the butz building far before the chamber.

    All that said, I miss the diner. After getting home from some of my latest nights of travel, it was 1 block from my house and always provided a reliable option for a quick late night dinner.


  13. anon 11:53 wrote;

    "Shoddy reporting at best. My guess is that you probably didn't talk to anybody at the chamber. Care to share any other claims you make without talking to the people making a decision? Did you even talk to this business owner?"

    anon 11:53, geoff reports that you are correct about the direct move of the chamber to the butz building. I'm not a reporter, nor do i purport to be. furthermore, you are correct, i did not speak to the diner owner. his story is an assumption from the dozens like him i do know. his sign in the window says it all. soon, after this park commotion, i will write a post called jerry and the cookie lady. i do know jerry (so does alfonso and many others) and i hope the journalism will be up to your standards.

  14. MM.
    If you had time to add up all the grants given to Johnny Mannas and now forever gone. Wasted.

  15. Just why didn't the state liquor board that is known as "big guns" come in and fine the Fegleys at their golf course club house for illegal distribution and sale of liquor w/o a license.

  16. MM,

    Curious... do you know why the business closed? I'd prefer the city not be in the business of bailing out any businesses. If Alfonzo is right about Sheriff's sale, it means the property owner didn't pay taxes. I'm sorry, but not paying taxes is the fault of the property owner, not the city.

    Yeah, other's get the benefits and he doesn't... blah blah...they know this when they open a business (it only opened in the last 3 years). It sucks to lose a business owner, but how about the personal responsibility.

  17. I doubt if Bernie O'Hare can post a single comment with taking a shot at someone.

    Greg Bourse

  18. mr. bourse, o'hare has posted many comments here without taking a shot at someone, your comment is a shot, which i allowed only because it is signed.

  19. anon 2:05, a sheriff sale can also occur when not paying mortgage. i have documented several times on this blog what i refer to as the unlevel playing field in allentown. although the situation concerning the diner is mostly unknown, we do know he has complained about this unlevel playing field with his sign, and we do know that the city is supporting three grants to a restaurant in a KOZ building. btw, the community development committee of city council is discussing these grants this evening, and will approve them next council meeting. we will see if they will issue a cease and desist order against the park department, or claim to have their questions answered tomorrow evening.

  20. Molovinsky,

    I agree 1000% with your assessment of what the inability to use ANON would do to participation on any given blog - which I suppose is the ultimate goal of a blog, to have people participate.



    I also agree with the person who brings up Mananas. There is a good topic for a man of your abilities! If you find yourself bored one day, review for us all:

    - how much money REALLY went to Mananas?

    - from what different programs/sources (city, state, etc.)?

    - was there not some kind of clause stating Mananas had to give some of the grant back if they did not stay open a certain period of time? (of course, if the owner(s) are broke, there's a moot point)

    - I am an old bank guy - if you make a recapture clause, don't you have to look at existing assets and stuff like that for potential to repay the recapture if necessary? In other words, somebody had to 'underwrite' that grant then, no?

    - Bank honchos always want to know what underwriter approved what non-performing loan that ends up in default. Underwriters are graded on that stuff - goes with territory. Was anybody with the city 'graded' on this idea of a grant?

    - should officials not be graded on who they give out money to?

    - did the Mayor not give some great speech that this whole Mananas thing was symbolic?

    - was the word "cornerstone" not used in the great speech? (or what did he say)

    I used to argue with my boss that whole promotional stunt might just fall flat for the Mayor. Then it did and was conveniently swept under the rug.

    How come nobody ever called anybody out on that for anything or did I miss something?

    And, it is not customary to review the record of an incumbent up for re-election?

    So that makes Mananas relevant still, does it not?

  21. Belive there was a pay-back clause in Mexican restaurant at PPL Plaza, but as Old Banker says,
    who can collect from a dry well?

    The restaurant thing is a little like that gym thing where city development director praised opening and days later was speechless as business closed with trusting souls membership fees in hand. This is also like the construction project as S 12 and Doneyflake Lane that stands idle with 5 foot weeds rotting for two years now and city hall does nothing to even cut the weeds and yet penalizes city home owners for same.

  22. Weeds:
    No, when they're in your backyard they're weeds.

    When on public grounds they're Riparian buffers


Anonymous comments are not permitted. Comment by name or establish a pseudonym. Comments only represent the view of the commenter.