Dec 12, 2009

Allentown As Landlord

Over the years I have known quite a few professional rehabbers. Not all rehabbers are created equal. Some put out a nice product, while others give the house a lick, a promise, and a coat of paint. Never the less, all these entrepreneurs cost the taxpayer nothing. While the house is being repaired and sold, real estate taxes are paid.

On the other hand, the bureaucracies also dabble in real estate. While the private investor is a one man band with a pickup truck and cell phone, usually the bureaucracy has a staff and overhead, at tax payer expense. The properties they acquire tend to remain dormant for many years, and dilapidate in the process. Witness the fenced houses across from the Verizon Building on Linden Street. Witness the Schoen Furniture building on Hamilton Street. Much of this real estate was acquired during Bill Heydt's first term, some even earlier. The bureaucrats would reply that they're keeping these properties out of the "wrong hands", or that they're placing them with responsible owners. The transiency of center city, both residential and commercial, would seem to dispute those assertions. Although Mayor Pawlowski now seeks to sell some city real estate as a tax band-aid, none of these acquired properties have attracted buyers. I've been in few, time has rendered them beyond repair. Instead, now he must resort to sell important long term city assets, such as Bicentennial Park and the Park Department maintenance building across from the stadium.

But it's a newish mayor, with new bureaucrats in the agencies, so guess what? Here's a list more houses we are now in the process of acquiring;

Properties to be Acquired by Eminent Domain by the Redevelopment Authority

914 N 4th Street
615 N 6th Street
616 N 6th Street
906 1/2 N 6th Street
735 N 7th Street
121 N 9th Street
112 N 10th Street
112 N 11th Street
318 N 13th Street
902 N 18th Street
377 1/2 - 379 Allen Street
393 Allen Street
536 Allen Street
511 Chew Street
1112 Chew Street
1002 - 1006 Club Avenue
320 N Fountain Street
369 Liberty Street
533 Liberty Street
392 Pratt Street
1202 Union Street

These will join the list of 62 other properties, which the City has owned since as far back as September, 1996


dick nepon said...

The Parks property that Pawlowski wants to sell to Muhlenberg College will irrevocably alter the ability of the city and school district to leverage the JB Crum Stadium. We can now build parking that would pay for itself, and allow the use of the stadium for money making activities now limited by the lack of parking. I have fought this for a while, and that is one of the reasons Muhlenberg violated my civil rights by booting me off their campus when I was gathering signatures to put my name on the ballot for Mayor. They hope to get a sweetheart deal from the Mayor, which will be to the detriment of all taxpayers. Don't let it happen. Concerts in the stadium could generate much revenue, at 19,000 seats. There would also be the business dollars generated from restaurants and hotels, jobs created, and also it would ease the burden on the neighborhood from the use of Cedar Beach and the park for existing and planned uses that fill the streets with cars parked everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
You wrote;
"Never the less, all these entrepreneurs cost the taxpayer nothing."

We respectfully disagree. Cost taxpayers nothing! Look at one
disgustingly maintained property on a street of otherwise well-kept homes and it destroys property value for all. Garbage left unattended draws unwanted visitors; old cars, old tires, old beer bottles tossed about. Rusted rain gutters hanging from rooflines. On and On. Cost taxpayers nothing! It costs
taxpayers everything.

Anonymous said...

What parks property?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Nepon,
Do you mean the city wants to sell Crum Stadium to Muhlenberg?

michael molovinsky said...

no, the city wants to sell the park department building, which is on linden street across from the stadium, behind the hamilton family.

Anonymous said...

What the hell, lets pave more of the Rose Garden and charge for parking there.

ironpigpen said...

Sell J. Birney Crum Stadium!

Allen and Dieruff are both too poor, too underpriviliged, too weighted down by the social ills of society.

Schools like Parkland and Emmaus have all the best facilities anyway, which means the city teams have no hope.

The rich boys get to go to camps to improve their skills while the poor boys have no money for that and probably have to stay home and take care of their babies, anyway.

(See Steve Esack's "Yard By Yard" series on Dieruff football extolling the virtues of a boy who juggles both fatherhood and football practice.)

Anonymous said...

Obviously you have a problem with bureaucrats. You seize on the term to make easy invectives about public service. I am reminded of the way Goebbels talked about the children of Abraham, subtlety blaming them for all kinds of social and government ills. Public service is important to our way of life. You have benefited greatly from our system of government. For shame!

michael molovinsky said...

anon 11:58, i can only take your comment as an anti-Semitic slur at me. yes, i escaped the ovens. the issue is whether the city benefits from an authority controlling 83 properties which otherwise would be on the the tax rolls, please do not respond unless you use your name.