Mar 7, 2011

No Failure Zone

I don't know if we will establish a no fly zone over Libya, but the No Failure Zone is firmly being enforced in the 800 block of Hamilton Street. Freshly subsidized eateries are replaced upon failure in the Pawlowski Project Zone. Restaurant grants are given to operate the eateries inside buildings which are themselves subsidized by the Keystone Opportunity Zone. The subsidized BrewWork's Fegleys will now operate the coffee shop inside William's subsidized City Line Building, replacing William's own coffee failure. Grants are now being distributed by the Allentown Economic Development Corporation, allowing Allentown City Council to rest their rubber stamping arms. Did I mention that the subsidized Amazon Cafe was replaced by the Noshery in the tax free PPL Plaza? Now the fact that the lunch crowd isn't big enough to support all of these venues matters little in this subsidized illusion called Allentown's Restaurant Row. Gotta feel sorry for the schmuck who uses his own money.
Morning Call Photo.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for keepng tabs on the downtown for us Mike. I never go down there anymore. Too depressing.

Scott Armstrong

gary ledebur said...

If no one goes downtown it is guaranteed that the downtown will become more depressing. Time to demolish what is left and return it to the Leni Lenapes?

As to restaurants, numerous studies have indicated that overall @ half fail in their first year. It is a tough business to get started. Nevertheless in cities that have improved their downtowns restaurants seem to be a key. it is not easy trying to same our cities' main streets.

Anonymous said...

Gary, I hope you know how accurate you are. Much would be accomplished by tearing down entire blocks of downtown Allentown, as well as many other cities.

michael molovinsky said...

the following excellent comment was submitted by "local". i do not know why it did not appear here, perhaps some problem with blogspot.

The schmucks using their own money are located along 7th st.
Places run and patronized by locals.
These businesses do pay taxes.
Shops and restaurants are all bustling.
The best Jamaican cuisine around can be found at Winstons on the strip.
There are LOTS of small shops popping up along Seventh St.
All these "funded" Hamilton St. projects are designed for people who won't venture into town anyway.
The nine to three crowd is not life in the city.
People coming to town three times a year for sporting events are not going to float this boat either.
A sports arena will only serve to make life more miserable for those of us living near it.
Face it, folks, the city is not what it was twenty years ago.
Or fifty years ago.There is a different group here now.
I am sure that the new residents are assimilating into Allentown culture in a manner similar to other migrations.
A generation from now, the city will again be different.
The people living here are what make the city.
People that want to be here in center city.
Does anyone think that the new population here in the city cares much about hockey?
How about soccer?
Has anyone ever asked?
Recovery for Allentown?
Only when people want to come here.
Only when people feel safe coming here.
Only when coming to the city doesn't entail navigating traffic jams and receiving the perfunctory Allentown parking citations.

michael molovinsky said...

"local", thanks for your accurate perceptions concerning 7th street.

the viable hispanic business district on 7th street did develop on it's own without city help. the later addition of a manager (peter lewnes) has dressed it up, and grants are now a factor.

i have withheld comment on the arena, with the exception of my previous "Dream Location Announced" post, which was meant as satire. i suspect much profiteering will occur if a downtown location is chosen, but it could be beneficial for the city. it will be a hardship for those living near by, but pawlowski has always been their man.

michael molovinsky said...

another comment from local which did not appear here;

I very much appreciate the opportunities to air my opinions on your blog.
This Mayor has never been my man.
I live very near the proposed travesty.
I find your boxing related articles interesting and enlightening, but
I know little about that sport and whether or not fans or boxers brawl and drink.
but Hockey:
What type of crowd will this rink attract and who will control it?
It is wrong to further trash the lives of the actual people living here in center city with a poorly reasearched and planned project.
Here is just one better alternative location and a few reasons why:
Bananna Joe's - and south along American Parkway.
Just south of where the Lanta terminal should still be.
Will not inconvienience any center city citizens. (No one lives there. BUT lots of us live in the shadow of the proposed seventh st. location)
Right along the MLK foot path and connecting with the Lehigh river walk. (lots of undeveloped land)
Good access, and egress.
Close to the police and city government center.
The American Parkway bridge can be built for a good reason.

Anonymous said...

I got $ 10 that says the fastest growing demographic in Allentown prefers Futbol over ice hockey by an exceptionally large margin...

...any takers?


Monkey Momma said...

I just had lunch at the Noshery today - it was great (except they were out of falafel!), and much better than the last place there. Better price point, too. I wish it continued success. I'm also a BIG fan of the Brewworks, so I'll be trying the coffee and burritos, too. I'm part of the 9-3 crowd...and downtown needs MORE of us to leave the brown bags at home and eat OUT.

Public funding, though...geez, it would be a fool who opened a business downtown on his/her own dime. Part of any decent business plan for new operators downtown should include a donation to Pawlowski - that seems to be how things are done. It's not clear to me that the Fegleys have a direct handout for their new venture, though, and isn't the KOZ on that block expired?

Finally, regarding the stadium...ever been to Camden? Or Newark? I go to concerts all over the place in many states, and let me tell you, I've NEVER seen an arena revitalize an area. NEVER. In fact, it seems like the crappiest areas are deliberately selected for arenas, since it's super cheap to build, and usually the suckers on local gov't have handouts and tax deals for developers, as is the case here. I do not see how anyone could think a hockey arena downtown would revitalize anything - it will only add to the day-to-day woes faced by residents who make this place home. I'm not anti-hockey, and I'm sure I'll go see some games, but I just do not see this as being a "good" thing for Allentown - I see it as being a HUGE tax burden for a city that already has trouble meeting its basic obligations.

Allentown taxpayer said...

Camden's venue is not downtown, it's on the riverfront. It's actually closer to Philly's South Street than to downtown Camden.
But more importantly, Camden had nothing to offer before the ballpark and concert venues were built.
Now, I go to Reading a lot for shows (they have two great venues downtown, a theater and the ice hockey rink) and I always have dinner before the show because there are nice places to eat there. I can actually walk from dinner to the show at either venue. Sort of how downtown Allewntown could be.
An arena in Allentown does not have to save a city, it will complement the existing amenities.
PS: "Local" makes a lot of sense, but it's all lost on blockheads who can even joke about razing entire blocks of the city.

gary ledebur said...

I tend to agree with the comments saying hockey will not help the city much. The most important learning to me from these posts is the point that the 7th street development is driven by the locals not the city officials. Perhaps this is the key. Forget what the Parkland folks want in Allentown and ask the people living downtown! Hockey will not likely be high on their list. Perhaps futbol!

michael molovinsky said...

gary, the administration's entire reason for the arena is to attract a different demographic, with more disposal income, than those now living in center city.

Looking To Escape said...

I'm not anti-hockey, and I'm sure I'll go see some games, but I just do not see this as being a "good" thing for Allentown -
Most economists I have read feel sports arenas are a poor use of development funds and other types of projects can produce a better return.
On the other hand the only other proposed use for the land by the Mayor was low income housing.

Looking To Escape said...

I am sure that the new residents are assimilating into Allentown culture in a manner similar to other migrations.
While this is all charming sounding, the key is how much tax do these businesses pay?
When people talk of past migrations, that was an era in America now long gone. We have an extensive welfare system to fund and an every increasing list of government programs to pay for. Sentimentality doesn't pay much of that tab.
I have been down 7th more than once and there are a lot of pedestrians but not many very busy shops. Maybe I just missed the busy times.
You need to try to attract higher income individuals as well. Allentown has to provide variety. It's just a pity Allentown has to bribe businesses to come here.

michael molovinsky said...

comment submitted by "Local"

While this is all charming sounding, the key is how much tax do these businesses pay??
They pay more than the mayor's buddies being fed public cash and given tax free deals.
You can not bribe businesses to come here.
They will take the money without even a thank you and give none back.
You can not bribe people to come here.
They have to want to come here.
Tell some more jokes about attracting higher income folks(read: a better class of people) to our city.
The arrogance of dinosaurs.

Anonymous said...

The census says that Allentown is growing. I knew that somehow, some would equate that to success and improvement. I argue that simple getting bigger if it also means getting poorer is no bargain for any city. While I cannot fathom why Allentown continues to attract more people, I had to laugh out loud when I heard this gem: "New Jersey has an affordable housing plan. It's called "Pennsylvania".

I think it was Allan Jennings.

As long as Allentown is populated by people who show little interest in the political process, in education or in personal improvement, Allentown is doomed to be what it is, a large, poor, failing city with little future. No restaurant row or minor leagus stadiums can alter that fact. A city is a reflection of its populace.


michael molovinsky said...

VOR, i wished you visited my site on a more frequent basis. although your comment is very insightful, blog posts have a short shelf life. after two days there are few visitors to older posts.

Anonymous said...

You need to be a full service, (lunch and dinner, plus liquor) restaurant to even qualify for a grant.

Places like "The Noshery" have not received a single penny from allentown. Like many small businesses, they are just hard working people making a living, while providing reasonably priced quality products.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 10:40, use this blog's search engine for jerry and the cookie lady perhaps you're referring to a full grant ($450,000) like butz got for sangria, i'm referring to the $20,000 deals. are you with the City or AEDC?

The said...

Neither, i'm with 'The Noshery', and i can assure you, we received no "free money"