molovinsky on allentown exclusive*
Just as William Penn gave this town to William Allen two hundred and fifty years ago, Pat Brown, Jennifer Mann and Ed Pawlowski have now given the town to J.B. Reilly. Actually, Reilly's getting a better deal than Allen, because the existing taxpayers will underwrite all his new acquisitions. This blogger has learned that with three exceptions, Reilly has purchased the square block across from the arena; that would be from 7th to 8th, and Hamilton to Walnut. The exceptions are the LCCC Portland Place building, and two adjoining store fronts. All other properties are either under an agreement of sale, or have one pending. One of the sellers claim that they were initially approached by a strawbuyer, who used language of eminent domain, similar to the tactics employed on the arena side. Although the offers appear fair to generous, several of the sellers supposedly felt they had little to no option. Although I initially thought that the threat of domain was an idle threat, perhaps it is possible. City Council really doesn't know what authority they gave the City and it's agents, when they signed that dotted line. One council member hoped it wouldn't result in just some rich white guys getting richer; Guess what? Just as the general public was not aware that the NIZ taxing mechanism could be used by approved private parties, few people understand that property taxes will be used if the earned income and sales tax fall short. In addition to the block outlined above, Reilly's City Center Investment Corp., funded by an initial $20million from the City Authority, and a yet disclosed second amount, is buying up both sides of Hamilton, from 5th to 10th Street. Additionally, he is purchasing the property north of Linden Street, to Turner Street. Several displaced former merchants who owned property on Hamilton, will now be tenants in Reilly buildings.
City Center Investment Corp. is a visionary real estate development and management company....We look forward to welcoming many tenants to live, work and play in what will be an inviting, accessible urban community.Considering that Reilly hasn't been given the keys to the city, but rather the city itself, let us hope he succeeds.
*When The Morning Call reads this post, and produces their own longer version, with charts and maps, will they give this blog appropriate credit?