Jan 8, 2015

For Whom Does The Morning Call Work

An article in today's Morning Call by Matt Assad follows the paper's new agenda, reporting J.B. Reilly's business promotions as news. This latest article claims that there is a shortage of market rate housing for the yuppies and empty nesters, but a surplus of low rent housing for the poor. Although Assad is correct about the proportion of low and high end units available, he's taking Reilly's promotion as a fact. In reality, just like the restaurants needed to be primed by giving out gift cards, the flats and lofts will also need to be pumped. Currently, Reilly is taking $100 returnable deposits for his yet completed apartments, certainly not an indicator of demand. Getting people to drive into center city for dinner is one thing, getting them to live there is another. The stated demand is bogus, the real urgency is taking advantage of building a real estate empire at taxpayer expense.


Anonymous said...

Michael, I find it curious the Riverfront apartment plans are seldom mentioned, nor the 32 story tower project on Ninth. Guess those many units are not relevant to expected market conditions inside the NIZ.

We're considering downsizing to a high-end apartment building, too. But, we don't have any interest living in a building that doesn't have significant outdoor terrace space built into the unit. Really nothing attractive here. But, we can wait.

Fred Windish

doug_b said...

I don't defend the M-Call, however what else is there to A-Town anymore?

Having grown up in A-Town (1950's - 1960's) we lived near West Park on Turner street. I can't imagine a middle class couple wanting to buy any of those row homes: too small, poorly designed for 2015 living, alleys (ugh), no garages, certainly not a two car garage, lack of closets, lack of storage space... I could go on an on. These homes are obsolete - they are a low income magnets, and are partially responsible for making Allentown what it is today. They certainly won't appreciate like a home in the burbs.

What I think you're going to see is twenty-somethings renting these new apartments. Along with them comes an endless demand for resturants and bars. That's what they spend their money on. When they grow up, they will move to the burbs.

While the graft / lies / manipulations are digusting, what else is there in Allentown's future? Certainly not a new Bethlehem Steel or Hess's.

michael molovinsky said...

doug@10:14, if you're correct reilly would be delighted and i would be pleasantly surprised.

BiIII said...


My wife and I are a millennial middle class couple who wish to buy a house pretty much right where you grew up. Many of those row homes are beautiful inside and out and have impressive craftsmanship that you won't find in the burbs.. They also are much more efficient with their space than a spread out suburban home.

Being able to walk to the market, restaurants, and friends homes is more important to us than a two car garage and walk in closet.

Anonymous said...

The morning gag has and will allways have there own advertismental agenda in this Brown Hole matter¿

patent pending

Anonymous said...

The NIZ is about 20-30 years too late.

The main problem with the NIZ and J.B.'s efforts is that you can never stop pumping the incentives. The Lehigh Valley economy can't support Allentown's economy alone. You need an economy last seen in the 90s to do that.

The perception of those in the silos like the WIB, LVEDC and believed by City Center is that the Valley is full of college educated people with skills and retirees flush with cash, ready to spend.

Reality is that the people moving into the Lehigh Valley are untrained labor and don't have college degrees, fodder for all the "fantastic" warehousing jobs we have. Retirees aren't spending, they are saving. Living longer, need to save for healthcare or even still working because they don't have enough saved.

That on top of the systemic problems of the ASD and homegrown poverty of Allentown, you just don't have the local money to support the NIZ without the perpetual handout.

Anonymous said...

Comrade Molovinsky,


Controlling not only the information provided but the language used is fundamental to the success of the NIZ.

By the way, no one ever REALLY needs a spacious backyard, anyway.

Forward to progress!


Soviet Red Army (ret)

AuH2O said...

This Yuppie apartment living might me more attractive if it was in Easton. If the sainted commuters to New York were 75 minutes from the Lincoln tunnel it would be much more advantageous than the 2+ hours to Allentown. Too bad the environmental whack jobs a few years ago killed that project near the Delaware River.

Anonymous said...

12:51 makes excellent points!

The Morning Call FAILED citizens everywhere by not providing a thorough analysis. But, it's kinda late for that, isn't it?

We just learned the ANIZDA group returned $16 million in tax revenue back to the state. The vast majority of Morning Call readers will read this as a GAIN for the state. They'll miss the part about it already having been state taxpayer revenue in the first place.

The math of this whole plan will NOT show a positive return for state taxpayers during most of our lifetimes. Not to mention, when these buildings are sold, the gain is ALL going to the developers.

I can't remember reading anything about the amount of tax dollars coming from these same blocks BEFORE NIZ. The same amount must be subtracted from any annual tax amount being paid AFTER the building stops.

Nothing looks more healthy about a city than new building construction downtown. We're getting that. But, at what actual price to taxpayers throughout the state.

Notice how our 'stressed' state budget is now looking for new sources of revenue. Any connection here?

The time value sum of regular and periodic taxpayer dollars from the 'before NIZ' sources, left invested in normal growth vehicles would have been substantial, too. Now, THIS would be a fascinating newspaper report!

Fred Windish

AuH2O said...

It's hard to expect fair reporting from the Morning Call when the enter into 'partnerships' with NIZ entities like the arena and Phantoms. Newspapers should remain neutral when it comes to organizations they are supposed to 'cover.'
I have not read one word about the screwing of half of the residents of the Lehigh Valley who are denied regular access to both Phantoms and Iron Pigs games on television. All taxpayers funds were used to pay for the baseball stadium as well as the arena development, yet only Service Electric customers get to see the games. In another day a local news organization would have called them on that.

doug_b said...

Bill @ 12:37 "Being able to walk to the market, restaurants"

Haven't been to Allentown for many years... At 16th, 17th.. and Turner - where is there a market? Or resturants (hope you're not referring to the Ritz) within walking distance.

I tell you - a row home will have ZERO appreciation. Much the same can be said for condos.

Julian Kern said...

There are a few issues that need to be addressed. One is the poverty rate. The minimum wage needs to be increased so residents can afford to live which means pay rent, buy food, pay utilities, etc.

Now they are saying there is no shortage of affordable housing but that isn't true. Rents are on the rise downtown and a lot of the affordable housing was demolished. Center city has the highest poverty rate in the city with the entire city at 27%.

Then you have the slumlords and absentee landlords who rent to anyone and neglect their properties. Having the neglected housing is negatively affecting the neighborhoods. Poorly managed rental housing is costing taxpayers significantly more than well managed rentals and homeowner properties.

Home owners are losing property values on their homes so they move out of the area to better their lives which if they can't sell their homes they turn them into rentals. It is a downward spiral. Home owners need to start speaking up as well cause it is your properties that are affected by the neglected rentals. Neglected rentals negatively affect the city in numerous ways. Here is what neglected rentals do to the city. 1. Attract criminals 2. Decrease revenue 3. Decrease property values 4. Higher Utilization of City Resources 5. Contribute to blight 6. Are health and safety hazards 7. Deteriorate the housing stock

Until we fix these issues without taking it out on the poor there will continue to be trashed neighborhoods and crime.

One idea is implementing a better landlord program to help deal with the bad landlords and the bad tenants. You can read more about that at this site. http://betterlandlord.us/

Canary_In_Coalmine said...


Ahart's Market is a short walk at 15th and Allen, and the Fairgrounds Farmer's Market is an even shorter walk. The Fairgrounds contains a market as well as all the farm stands, which I believe are on the verge of enjoying new popularity with yuppies and foodies as "farm to table" has become the latest hot dining trend. My family which is still in the West Park area happily satisfies nearly all grocery needs from Ahart's and the Farmer's Market, supplemented with an occasional drive to a discount megamart. CVS and Walgreens are also a short walk. I am less knowledgeable about restaurants but believe there are some good options northwest of the park.

I agree that someone who wants multi-car garages and a big yard will likely not live in West Park area, but it does seem to me that living there is attractive to those who like "quiet" city living, don't care about the local school system, and appreciate the ability to walk to a lot of places. Downtown is a 8-9 block walk from West Park as well.

Good luck with your search!