May 14, 2012

Allentown Becomes Reillytown


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?
**Our trusted elected officials insist that property taxes cannot be used.(May14,2012)
Reprinted from January 9, 2012, as a companion piece to the Reillyville Video at LV Ramblings

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

(yawn) putz.

michael molovinsky said...

the previous comment is from a local hate blogger and cyberstalker, please ignore

Anonymous said...

Over/Under on the number of columns Bill White writes in The Morning Call shamelessly begging for NIZ support this week?

I'm receiving an increasing number of requests on this matter from the Patronage ...

ARNOLD ROTHSTEIN

Anonymous said...

Construction companies don't work in the rain?
Or did the project grind to a halt?

Anonymous said...

So what, any other developer in the valley could have bought up those properties. Reilly is just smart enough to sense that the real estate market is turning away from suburbia while the rest of them cry like there is nothing more to develop anymore. Come on. They are just beholden to old models--if they (the other developers) can't evolve and sense the demographic shift happening they deserve to go under.

Anonymous said...

The Chairman Pawlowski, J.B. Reilly and the Brooks Brothers are all too big to fail.

And Russia has finished 7-0 in the round robin at the IIHF World Championships.

Shaibu!

VIKTOR TIKHONOV

michael molovinsky said...

@8:40, reilly "bought them up" with a $20million dollar NIZ loan which will be paid back with taxes. in other words, they were free. this was an opportunity only afforded to him.

Anonymous said...

http://boingboing.net/2012/05/14/blogger-paid.html

Anonymous said...

@ 9:01 MM. True he got a loan but others can apply for that loan money too. And, it's a loan with interest. So, the city might even make some money off it--just like the federal government did with the bank and car industry loans. That's what's called betting on American industry and capitalism.

michael molovinsky said...

@1:08, i should delete your comment for misinformation. nobody can get the loan reilly got, the first $20million. #1. nobody at the time knew loans were available for private developers. #2. that loan had no specific address or purpose specified, so he has used it to acquire surrounding real estate. #3. there are now guidelines in place specifying purpose. #4. loans now must first be approved by city hall, before you can apply to the NIZ Authority. #5. only reilly and butz have thus far qualified #6. so far 17 municipal governments have no faith in what is told them by the likes of you.

Publius said...

MM @ 3:20, serious question, how many plans have been submitted that have been rejected. And of the ones that were rejected how many deserved to be rejected for lack of planning, etc.

And, I think it would be a good thing that there are now development guidelines and regulations. Even if Reilly was not explicitly subject to them earlier on, I think we can both agree his plan is ambitious, well-planned, and consistent with the city's vision. Based on the NIZ guidelines I don't see why he would not have qualified.

http://www.allentownpa.gov/Portals/0/files/BuildingStandards/Sheet%20Metal/Allentown%20(NIZ)_Guidelines%20for%20Obtaining%20Authority%20Financing.pdf

michael molovinsky said...

publius, we do not agree. i not even sure whose vision it is. considering that there was no public input, i must assume that it was reilly's vision. considering he got the money up front, why shouldn't he build whatever, on the public dime. i will be doing a post on pawlowski's documented visions prior to reilly's entrance; they were very much less.

Publius said...

Fair enough, but, how many projects have been denied now? And of those, how many were rightfully denied. Also, I have to imagine the whole approval timeline has come to a halt/slowed with the township litigation.

Anonymous said...

There are many more local developers that have ethics and the money to back this venture, that are only silent for the moment of truth. The valueless bonds are still not floating aimlessly in the wind like the people that have concocked this theft of public monies.

Publius said...

@ 5:15 Yeah, whatever, like the suburban developers are some great, white, gleaming, beacons of truth. They are in it for the money--just like Reilly. At least Reilly helps to bring high-level commerce back to the downtown where it belongs and will bring in much needed tax dollars so Allentown can hopefully become the city it once was.

michael molovinsky said...

publus, as i have stated previously, i attended a meeting with the former merchants and the city of allentown (sara hailstone). the merchants were never told that NIZ loans were available, or that they may qualify for any kind of loan. i suggested (but did not attend) the meeting with pat browne. again the merchants were not told that NIZ loans were available to private parties. i have no interest in finding out who has since applied (besides butz) or the status of such applications. you are welcome to do that research, and i will gladly host the results here, if you so desire.

Publius said...

I'm not saying the city couldn't have done a better job publicizing this info last year--they could have. But, I am saying that Reilly is essentially on the same terms as the other developers and the other developers could jump in here if they like and try to make some money too while benefiting Allentown at the same time. If they are unwilling to acknowledge the demographic sea-change and join the party that is their own issue.

To the best of my knowledge, and I keep my ear to the ground about these things, not a single developer who has put forward a workable / realistic plan has been denied consideration for a loan yet. If these suburban developers were smart, they ought to be jumping--just like Butz one of the most savvy players in our local economy.