May 19, 2011

The Night Hamilton Street Died

What was once a thriving block of Hamilton Street will now be turned into a ghost down. Even now, although not the golden age shown above, the block between 7th and 8th does business. Still hosting three chain stores, the block had survived, despite one arrogant mayor after another. The Family Dollar Store is one of their most successful branches. Rainbow (jeans) and Rite Aid also anchor the block, along with successful independents. In a night of shame, one of the most shameful acts was Julio Guridy, interrupting the merchants so that Mayor Pawlowski could educate them. Pawlowski said that the arena could attract up to 1.5 million people a year, and that everyone will benefit, even relocated merchants. Considering that the hockey team only actually attracts 3,000 people to 40 home games, Pawlowski is off by about 1.4 million. In reality, the stores that remain on the south side of the street will now face an empty arena and much less foot traffic. The upscale restaurants, such as Sangria and Cosmopolitan, will suffer, because their patrons will avoid the nighttime traffic congestion. Lou Belletieri told Council that he operated a restaurant across from the Wilkes-Barre Arena, and did no business, what so ever, from it. Councilman Michael Donovan said that although he feels for the merchants, he owes the other 118,000 citizens The Pawlowski Palace of Sport.* He actually owed them the courage to say no to this ill conceived plan.*

*Palace of Sport is a borrowed term coined by a blog reader. Donovan was joined by five other councilmen in his yes vote.


  1. MM -

    Regarding the attendance numbers, let's assume the best case scenario and the arena is filled for each event (hockey and non-hockey). I'll use 8,500 seats, even though certain events (like concerts) will have more.

    To get to Pawlowski's 1.5 million figure, you'd have to have 8,500 people there 180 days of the year. That seems overly-optimistic, and one has to wonder about the impact (traffic, neighborhood parking, etc) even if such a schedule could be achieved.

    I would agree whole-heartedly with Belletieri's comment on the impact on nearby restaurants. Arena operators are EXPERTS at getting people in the door early to have more time to EAT at the arena.

    As an example, that's one reason why the Iron Pigs give out a limited number of "giveaway" items (such as bobbleheads, hats, etc.) at their home games. People have to come early to get the "giveaway" and are then soaked at the concession stands.

    What was most shocking to me was the total lack of public information on the arena. There was no power-point at last night's meeting. Council has obviously been briefed (Sunshine Law violation?), but much of what they said they thought was happening thus far was contradicted by some of the business owners or the administration itself.

    Councilman Donovan repeatedly said that his focus was to have the "arena done right", yet there was ample evidence that very little has been done right thus far.

    How many times will City Council allow itself to be burned by trusting the administration? The sky seems to be the limit.

  2. Unbelievable lying scum.
    The arrogance of these idiots.
    The jerk president of the council after admonishing the citizen telling the council to pay attention never looked at anyone speaking the whole evening.
    He kept his moronic gaze directed at his laptop.
    The shills are at it again.
    This plan stinks and is based upon lies.
    Most of the city has been intentionally kept in the dark about the arena so that Pulpudski and his minions may freely screw us all.
    How dare these vermin.

  3. Wednesday evening we all got to see imbeciles in action.
    These callous thieves ran roughshod over the people of this city.
    Lipservice and BS.
    Every body else WATCH OUT because you may be next!
    Like the fascists coming in the night to take what is yours.
    The will of the people means nothing as the people were never consulted concerning this travesty.

  4. Retired ASD teacher here.

    Mike Schware is certainly correct about the outlandish attendance figures. It will be a real stretch to come anywhere near the numbers being thrown around. Besides, the Phantoms crowd will be mostly season ticket holders. Those are the SAME people, night after night.

    This does appear to be taking of property based on SPECULATION that construction will even happen.

    Has anyone produced legitimate cost estimates, actual construction drawings, geologic study results? Is there even a FIRM, signed commitment from the Brooks Brothers?

    The images shown in the Morning Call depict a facility nearly 3 times the size, costing at least $225 million.

    Seems entirely possible the private owners are being tossed out on conjecture.

    In the end, will all we see be a leveled, empty lot?

  5. "Resident Mike Molavinski said the council should take its time making the decision." -69 News

  6. He's not a "resident."

  7. The Tribune of the People is on the job. We must support his efforts to stop Hockey in Allentown.

  8. Are we now to receive the gift of a new "authority" in Allentown?
    The "Sports Authority"?
    Will there be $100,000+ jobs available for friends of these crooks?
    You bet.
    Just look at the Parking Authority.
    Get rid of high school sports for being too costly and spend a hundred million (before overruns)
    on a sports arena.

  9. Tonight the city council of Allentown, Pennsylvania voted 6-1 in favor of seizing more than several private properties (most of which are functioning businesses with apartments above) in order to clear the way for a minor league hockey arena. While I am a HUGE hockey fan, I find this seizure disgusting. Property owners were notified on April 29 of this year and given until Tuesday, May 17 to agree to sell at the price the city offered. Those who refused will now see their properties condemned and taken by the city.

    At the council meeting, more than 30 residents spoke out against the plan, only to be completely ignored by both mayor and most council members (eerily reminiscent of Wisconsin). Ironically enough, the lone vote against using eminent domain was from the only council member who has any balls, the sole female. All this time I thought our revolutionary war was fought against this very practice, among other things. What was I thinking? As a 5th generation Allentonian I am appalled by this action, and even more bewildered by the fact that the mayor and all council members are democrats. I am currently drafing a letter asking them to officially switch parties, but I certainly won't be holding my breath on that one.

    The worst part of it is that the city already owns several viable properties, which many people around here think are more suitable, on which they could build this arena. In fact, the very location they have selected, which is smack dab in the middle of center city, is plagued by sinkholes. 15 or so years ago the city had to implode a building at the exact location as the proposed arena after a sinkhole opened underneath.

    Allentown may not be the same city I grew up in, but it's still in America and we still have the bill of rights, or so I thought. The elected officials here have told us it will improve Allentown's economic outlook, but I don't care how broke the city is; rights will always be right, and wrongs will always be wrong. Goodbye Allentown, hello Baghdad!

  10. "The Puck Stops Here."
    -Mike Molavinskli

  11. jujubie said...

    "As a 5th generation Allentonian I am appalled by this action, and even more bewildered by the fact that the mayor and all council members are democrats. I am currently drafing a letter asking them to officially switch parties, but I certainly won't be holding my breath on that one."

    jujubie -

    With MM's indulgence, I'm going to go out on a tangent here.

    It's funny you brought this issue up, because I was talking to a friend about this today.

    You see, I am a conservative. I am also a registered Republican and constantly hear "The Big Lie" about Democrats looking out for the little guy (or some such phrase). As last night showed, that is utter nonsense.

    Republicans are not the scary people that the national democrat party likes to portray us as. We do have a strong belief in the abilities of the individual and believe that government cannot be - and should not be - the answer to every problem.

    Taking viable properties for something as frivilous as a hockey arena is something that we have a problem with. I was very proud to see all three Republican candidates for City Council (Bob Toth, Eric Weis, and Steven Ramos) in attendance last night and speaking out against the eminent domain resolution.

    I grew up in an Allentown where no matter what party you belonged to you could work together for the good of the city. That was before Pawlowski, when party affiliation and cronyism rose to prominence in City Hall.

    Believe me, I'm not saying Republicans have all the answers but I'd be happy to have you or anyone else challenge your preconceptions about what a Republican is. And I'll happily invite you all to join our party and work with us to restore some much-needed balance at City Hall.

    At the least, know that we are still active in the city on various issues and willing to help ANYONE out when the issue is in line with our principles.

    I much prefer to deal with people as individuals rather than labeling them according to Party. Hopefully that came through in what I wrote above.

    That said, if you send us Pawlowski and his crony council - I'll do all I can to send them back (with the exception of Mrs. Eichenwald). :)

  12. Anonymous said...
    He's not a "resident."

    May 19, 2011 9:10 AM

    He speaks for me.
    And many, many citizens of Allentown too.

  13. Mayor Strangelove has a plan.

  14. Dear Anon 9:09,

    Of course Mr. Molovinsky is a resident, fool.

    Of course, Mr. Molovinsky lives somewhere...try being more specific next time...and please learn how to spell the man's name correctly.

    I am a resident of Allentown, as well. And Mr. Molovinsky speaks for me, too. And many others.

    Sorry, Cheerleader.

    But, enjoy YOUR Pawlowski Pucksters at the Palace of Sport and have yourself a superfantasticorgasmic day!



  15. I am the Bureaucrat
    And I will do as I please

    I am the Bulldozer
    Get on your knees!

    I love the smell of RUBBER STAMP in the morning...smells like...


  16. Excuse me, perhaps I am lost.

    I am a local, loyal Progressive Liberal Democrat-voting contractor who uses only union labor.

    Is this the site where I can apply for PAY TO PLAY with respect to the coming Pawlowski Palace of Sport?


    President Obama says Israel must pull back to pre-1967 borders...

    ...complete shocker, this.

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  20. Personally, I cannot wait for the Arena to open. The property owners are going to be paid more than the properties are worth, the retail renters will get financial help to relocate (it is the law of eminent domain), the empty storefronts will be renewed by the relocation of retailers, and folks will have an excuse to go downtown at night and on weekend.
    And oh yeah, I like minor league hockey!
    Let the slamming begin.

  21. And finally we'll be able to see concert acts in Allentown that aren't at only CrocRock or the Allentown Fair. Get the heck ott. Once.

  22. let me take anon's 4:04 comment and present some facts. i have been privy to offers made on various buildings. let's start with some misinformation presented by ed pawlowski last evening. he said that each property is different, and the offers will be customized to reflect their situation. first of all, the offers have already been made, and none reflected the owners business income, nor was any attempt made to ascertain that data. although the offers were fair in-regard to empty real estate, they were totally inadequate in terms of business income and interruption. the target block is the most viable business block currently on hamilton. it is unrealistic to project similar results if the merchants move just one block. the mayor's statement about providing relocation assistance was also flawed. city hall does not have the expertise for such help, and furthermore, the available real estate options are limited. although anon 4:04 could watch his hockey game by the riverfront or coca cola park, in retail, location is everything. last evening while the merchants poured their hearts out, at least two council members were preoccupied watching their laptops. please place future pro hamilton street arena comments on another blog, thank you.

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  24. anon 4:38, interesting you mention croc rock. let me tell you briefly the croc rock story. unlike the pawlowski projects, joe clark had no assistance building that club; on the contrary, the city gave him difficulties every step of the way. he now has the most successful business on hamilton street at no cost to the taxpayer, and nobody had their property taken to facilitate it. joe put the club in the vacant former eastern light appliance building. pawlowski should put his arena on vacant land, as was originally planned.

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  26. in addition to a couple of apologist comments for the arena, unfortunately, I have also received about five comments from a well known lehigh valley cyberstalker. please ignore them, thank you.

  27. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  28. the following comment was received and deleted.

    Lou said...
    "at least two council members were preoccupied watching their laptops."

    They were probably reading Lehigh Valley Somebody. Just sayin'.

    May 19, 2011 4:44 PM

  29. Some hard attendance figures for the past six years for everyone to peruse at leisure:

    Overall Attendance Per Game

    5,380 --- 2010/11
    5,100 --- 2009/10
    5,115 --- 2008/09
    5,270 --- 2007/08
    5,472 --- 2006/07
    5,448 --- 2005/06

    PHANTOMS (Flyers' AHL squad)
    Attendance Per Game

    3,575 --- 2010/11 (Adirondack)
    4,018 --- 2009/10 (Adirondack)
    6,459 --- 2008/09 (Philadelphia)
    6,679 --- 2007/08 (Philadelphia)
    6,698 --- 2006/07 (Philadelphia)
    7,162 --- 2005/06 (Philadelphia)

    SOURCE : (offical website of American Hockey League)

  30. What remains a mystery is why Pawlowski is pushing this through so quickly. What guarantee do city residents have the arena will ever be completed? Are the hockey owners posting a $1B bond to secure project completion or will this property be another open pit like Pawlowski's
    buddy left a south 12th Street lot.

  31. Morning Call:
    "Detectives learned that the victim had been shot in the at 816 S. Jefferson St. in the Allen Garden Apartments complex, Mould said."

    Why isn't Pawlowski working to keep Allentown safe rather than tearing it apart?

  32. "Allentown police officers trying to corral a pair of loose pit bulls Thursday morning were forced to shoot and kill one of them when it tried to attack the officers, police said.

    Assistant Chief Joseph Hanna said the dog was shot twice in the 100 block of Linden Street after it charged at the officers using an animal snare. A second pit bull was captured and taken to the Lehigh County Humane Society, he said."

    These stories harm Allentown more than residents can imagine.

  33. Why does it harm residents to report the TRUTH?

    ...pit bulls are naturally vicious dogs that like to maim and destroy things.

    Publishing stories like this should teach 'civilians' to keep their vicious, attack-minded dogs under thorough control at ALL TIMES or potentially force the police to protect themselves.

    Again, how does this do "harm" other than disrupt all efforts to unrealistically propagandize and paint Allentown as completely safe?

    I live is NOT!

    Back to the hockey rink fiasco, Anon 7:05...

    ...are you afraid stories like these will prevent people from coming to watch Pawlowski's Pucksters at the Palace of Sport?

  34. Anon 5:57 raises an interesting question, particularly for those who can remember the failed efforts to get the East Coast Hockey League's LEHIGH VALLEY XTREME up and running.

    The Xtreme actually opened an office on Hamilton in between 8th and 9th Street and former Philadelphia Flyers Stanley Cup winner DAVE SCHULTZ could be seen inside often by sidewalk pedestrians.

    The Xtreme were to play across the street where the 'new' PPL building stands...ironically enough, this very same building would later be the sight of JONNNY MANANA's, the "cornerstone" of Chairman Pawlowski's then-latest Will-Not-Fail Economic Recovery Genius Plan.

    Of course, construction of an ice hockey rink proved to be more complicated (and costly) than expected, and ultimately the project was scrapped.

    Johnny Manana's, as is well known, failed miserably.

  35. The whole thing stinks to high heaven. If it were my business I'd be out of my mind. This reeks of thinly veiled racism. I hope this gets national attention. I know where the Mayor is coming from but the high handed, umcompromising tactics he welds serve no one. The lawyers will get rich while the city suffers. Sad.

  36. It is official: This blog is now closed to anyone who has any differing opinions.

  37. Differing opinions from whom?

    Chairman Pawlowski and the Rubber Stamp City Council?

  38. although always closed to cyberstalking, i welcomed those comments favoring the arena for three previous posts on this subject. furthermore, no pro-arena comments were deleted even on this post.

  39. Anyone who visits Allentown's parks can tell you enforcement hardly ever extends to leash dog ordinances. It's a joke. Why even in the parks, pit bulls are off leash to frighten others. During Wednesday night's council meeting, members admitted they too sees dogs off leash. Do they call the police?

  40. fast eddie pulpudski will go down as the worst mayor in Allentown's history.
    Spend One hundred million dollars!
    Won't cost you anything.
    IT's FREE!
    Don't mind those people you are screwing!
    Schei├če im Hirn haben

  41. "The proposed Allentown taking may also run afoul of Pennsylvania’s post–Kelo eminent domain reform law, which forbids most takings that transfer property to a “private enterprise,” unless the land in question is “blighted” in tightly defined sense of the word (unlike the extremely broad definitions of “blight” that continue to prevail in many states, such as New York). I have seen downtown Allentown and it is clearly not blighted, as defined by the new law."


    I told you Mayor Smurf was a building stealer - this from three years ago.

  43. That history destined to repeat it self again thing....
    great find.
    Can only shake my head.

  44. Boogaard Died From Alcohol and Drug Mix.
    Great sport!

  45. Fighting in ice hockey?

  46. It won't be a walk in the park for this administration:
    The local bloggers all seem to be aligned on this one:
    Cute bit in the beginning:
    We're grateful for the ending.
    Mr. Geeting tried to explain, but the blogesphere disagreed:
    Blue collar folks don't like it when the government steals.....
    The Phantoms fan site shows some doubt:
    And secret is out of the bag:
    and more of the same:

  47. One more if any one is interested.
    Eminent Domain Abuse Survival Guide:

  48. Are the Brooks brothers trust fund kids?


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