Dec 5, 2011

The Misconception of Hamilton Street

There's not many mid size cities that can boast having two national chain stores within one center city block, Allentown could. Not too many cities could say that one of those stores was one of the biggest producers in a chain of over 7000 stores, Allentown could. There's not many cities that are ignorant enough to tear down their most successful block, a virtual tax machine, Allentown is. This horrible mistake took a combination of political arrogance and public misconception. The arrogance is well known, so let me concentrate on the misconception. The perception was a few undesirable people, buying cheap things. The reality is Family Dollar sells the same merchandize in their suburban and rural stores. Rite Aid fills the same prescriptions and sells their standard merchandize. The new upscale stores, visioned for the arena front, will never produce the sales tax produced by Family Dollar and Rite Aid. The arena will never have that amount of employees, nor produce that much earned income.* The traffic congestion and lack of parking for arena events will destroy the new restaurants. Welcome to the white elephant, welcome to the ghost town.
Shown above and below is the early morning delivery to Family Dollar, every week of the year.
*sales tax and earned income currently going to city and state will now go to debt service for arena


Anonymous said...

Work required a visit to Hamilton and a walk past the new very pretty restaurant in the Alvin Butz
building. Not a single person could be seen dining.

Anonymous said...

The purple place on 6th St between Linden and Hamilton is also usually empty.
The 6th and Linden parking deck rarely parks more than a couple dozen cars.
Arrogant incompetence is the means to all ends within our city.

Anonymous said...


Excuse me for doing this, but as a firm believer in the "apples to apples" theory, I try to compare the proposed areana in Allentown to something comparable. The Reading PA Sovereign Center always comes to mind. Similar urban settings, similar demographics, including street crime. Did you know that the Reading gym (opened in 2001) has gradually changed its focus? The addition of the "Reading Eagle Theater" came in the summer of 2004 when the Reading Eagle Company purchased naming rights to this, "one-of-a-kind, universal theater configuration." (This according to their website.) "The set-up turns the Sovereign Center into a smaller, more intimate setting for shows ranging in size from 2,500 to 4,500 patrons. Artists such as Dolly Parton, Daniel O'Donnell, Dave Koz, Marilyn Manson and Brad Paisley have all played the Reading Eagle Theater."

What this tells me is that they learned the hard way, that crowds of 8 - 9,000 cannot be expected on non-hockey nights. Since hockey has a defined saeson, those crowds (assuming capacity crowds can be counted upon) will be very limited as you look at the 365 day schedule. Reading apparently finds that at most, their market may support a smaller theater of about half that size for "intimate" concerts. They just described Stabler Arena or maybe State Theater....

Looks like they are going into this with big dreams, but without a firm grip on reality.


Anonymous said...

A typical early Sunday morning scene outside the Family Dollar on Hamilton Street in Allentown.

Some bloggers working their way down to Headquarters have seen this picture many, many times before.

This scene beats signs on telephone poles outside Glazier's Furniture ...

... but that would only be my (worthless?) opinion.

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee said...


You are a hypocrite. Here is a quote from your own entry on Sept 5, 2007

"There is business in downtown Allentown, its not glamorous, its mostly poor people buying cheap items."

michael molovinsky said...

ms. future, glad you could find something you find hypocritical, and within only four years! yes, it's mostly poor people buying cheap items. many poor people buying many cheap items. that price point has had much more success in center city, and it's delusional to think the arena will support high end stores.

Anonymous said...

i have been trying to follow this nonsence of this future arena. i am a long exsisting resident of this community. ok,,,, certain people of the up-scale want to "so-call", better the area. well the area was originally geared for a certain nationality and now that it went that particular nationalities way n other observed the nonsense, now the mayor wants to take so much away to try to bring the well-off people back to the community. well i feel personally,,this sucks, i am a private home care asst. nurse. and there are elderly people who reside on 7th and hamilton who will have no where to shop and transportation will be a problem for them. i think we as people should care for all not just the rich people. it is a shame when people in this world can only think of money making them richer. what is gonna pay for this bullshit will be the poor man n poor women taxes. you who dreamed this crap up should be a shamed of yourselves. if you where not well off, would you want to be treated this way. hope all your plans fall under deeper than you can be buried. you rich people or people with authority just want everything except what you really need. you all need to clean up your own backyard before trying to clean up something noone wants.