Jul 8, 2015
The Neuweiler Brewery, A Pawlowski/Fleck Shenanigan
The City of Allentown stole the brewery from the rightful owner. Just as the former merchants of Hamilton Street were never allotted the opportunity to benefit from city arranged grants or the NIZ, the former taxpaying owner of the brewery was never given any assistance. Mayor Pawlowski can't stand private investors: If he didn't give you a grant, you're not worth much.
In the early 70's, the City and Redevelopment Authority gave control of the Neuweiler Brewery to a friend. Under the City's watch, windows were removed and exterior walls broken through to remove the brewing tanks and piping for scrap. All metal, wires and any object of value were crudely ripped out in an orgy of demolition. With a large opening in the back wall smashed out, the basement was used as a free landfill by a roofer.
Still, the building remained iconic, because of it's rich industrial architecture. In 2003, a New Jersey investor bought the building in the condition shown in the photograph. The building has been in that condition since the late 70's. His hope was at some point the City would appreciate the landmark, and cooperate in its revival. He must have found the building citations from the Pawlowski administration mind-numbing; Can you image being held responsible for carnage committed by a previous owner under the City's watch? Mayor Pawlowski, afraid someone might want to invest private money in Allentown and pay real estate taxes, actually had the Neuweiler owner jailed when he came to Allentown to discuss the property. The city, then seized the brewery. The former Neuweiler garages, behind the brewery, had been sold years prior to a roofer. A couple years ago the City purchased the roofer's portion, reuniting the parcel. In May of 2013, it was announced that Ruckus Brewing was buying the Neuweiler property from the city, and could indeed use NIZ funds for it's redevelopment.
Ruckus was nothing much more than the hype of a young marketing promoter, represented locally by business consultant Mike Fleck. It has no actual brewing experience, no experience operating a brew pub, no real estate experience, with a very limited distribution of some small beer labels, brewed by contract elsewhere. The business, a marketing office in New York City, already featured Neuweiler Brewer's Hill Project on their website, as an accomplishment, to attract investors. They were actually seeking outside investors on the web, when given the option by the city in 2013. Given extension after extension by the city, they finally settled on the brewery in 2014. In February of 2015, they were hooked up with the city commercial and economic development agency, providing more documentation with which to continue seeking investors.
Above, I compiled excerpts from my previous posts outlining the City's complicity in distressing a property with a first owner, then stealing it from a second owner, and finally promoting a third owner, with no capital or relevant experience, but the right connection. molovinsky on allentown, providing the real story behind local shenanigans.