Mar 6, 2014
The Backside of Allentown's Development
featured a story on Allentown's unique development bonanza, and Reilly was rubber stamped by the Arena Authority to build two more buildings. There were a couple of items in the Times puff article which demand a reality check. Aided by tax dollars that would otherwise go to state or local general funds, developers should be able to offer attractive rents to companies that bring in new workers — who in turn might move into or buy new apartments and support new shops and restaurants in what had been a blighted urban landscape. Although I know that the lunch business will increase tenfold, I can yet to believe that the new workers will choose to live downtown. Another concern of mine is the quote by the hospital administrator. Dr. Ronald Swinfard, chief executive of the nonprofit, said it would benefit by paying less rent per square foot than it does in its current suburban location — where it will retain some operations — but that it was mainly attracted to the new building because it will add to facilities for the community medicine that the group already offers elsewhere in Allentown. My worry is that their presence in the new building on Hamilton Street will lessen their commitment to the facility at 17th and Chew Streets. Any reduction in that commitment would be very detrimental to greater Allentown.