Oct 6, 2011

Allentown's Tea Leaves

Some people read tea leaves, I read deed transfers. I can tell you that Pawlowski's Transformation includes 3 square blocks. In addition to the publicly stated 700 block of Hamilton Street, projects will also be built on blocks to the east and north. When completed, downtown will have two separate shopping districts; There will be the low income Hispanic Shopping District on 7th Street, and the hoped for middle class district on Hamilton, west of 8th Street. These two districts will be physically separated by the new projects; hockey arena, event center and hotel(s). In a recent Morning Call article The heart was torn out of the city, Easton's Mayor Sal Panto says that their 1966 renewal project was a total mistake. Panto won't apply the lesson to that city's new plans about a Lanta Terminal and High School Sports Museum. Here in Allentown, Pawlowski wasn't even here for our previous failures. The stark, former bank call center on the Lehigh Street hill, between Martin Luther Drive and Union Street, is testament to Allentown's previous failed attempt at transformation. Although the current Hamilton Street, shown above around 1950, is a shadow of it's former glory, the buildings remained for future renewal. That option will end come November. It is my fear that some mayor will say in 2050, that tearing down those buildings, was a total mistake.


binzley said...

Tribune: All urban renewal progress moves in a circle. Just stand still. Half of the time one will be behind the curve but alas, the other half one will be ahead of the curve.

Anonymous said...

In the not so distant future grants will be sought to tear the failure down.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Perhaps 7th street will fall as well. Still the most logical access point, as well it could be conquered by ED using ED and turned into a limited access by way called the yellow brick road or highway to heaven.

steelbreast said...

great reporting

Patrick McHenry said...

MM -

I couldn't agree with you more about leaving the buildings for future renewal.

Although Hamilton Street is "a shadow of its former glory" why do we accept the mantra that it can never be what it was again. I can drive 15 minutes to downtown Bethlehem to see a downtown that works, or 10 minutes to downtown Emmaus to see the same.

Even more amazingly, I can drive 15 minutes south to the Promenade shops to see a modern replica (with upscale shops) of what a city's main street could look like.

What we have on Hamilton Street is not an impossible task but a glaring lack of leadership and vision.

The three examples I cited all had a plan for what they wanted their "city" to look like and followed it. In Allentown, we get whatever the developer of the day proposes based on his ties to City Hall (and political contributions to our elected officials).

Until that changes, the situation downtown won't get any better.

Anonymous said...

You make way too much sense.
Still..... How can that vision compare with an arena for a violent sport and the alcoholic eateries to support the dream?

an old dutchman said...

alcohol and violence on ice

a winning recipe for urban renewal

thanks for the great reporting Molovinsky

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee said...

If anyone thinks that this will be an only hockey destination is foolish. Why is it going to be a three block center? This complex is so much more.

Anonymous said...

Arrogant ASS.
We are foolish children too ignorant to see a terrible plan for what it is?
Why is it going to be a three block center?
Really good question!
This complex is so much more.
more than what???
Than last time a corrupt administration tried use "free" cash to decorate a cake of garbage and provide for their retirement?

Anonymous said...


Please - you are so far up Pawlowski's you know what it has become utterly boring.

Take your canned ramblings some place else or contribute in earnest.