Apr 20, 2016

Reilly Gain, Masonic Pain

The Masonic Temple is perhaps the remaining architectural wonder of Allentown. The five story Classic Revival building took over two years to construct, opening in 1926. The large ritual meeting rooms are adorned with murals. General Harry Trexler was a Mason, and largely responsible for Allentown's Temple, which is on the list of significant historic buildings. Unfortunately, after almost ninety years, it's future is in jeopardy. It is essentially supported by one large commercial tenant, an accounting firm which rents the office space on the first floor for $10,000 a month. The accountant will be moving into J.B. Reilly's new office tower when completed. The Masons are hoping to find ten smaller tenants for $1000 each to fill the void, or perhaps twelve at $800. The only certain thing is that their good fortune with a large dependable tenant appears to be over. When Pawlowski cuts the ribbon for Reilly's new tenant, he'll be actually pulling the plug on an important part of west Allentown's history. He'll give mouth service that his department of Musical Chairs will help find them a tenant.

reprinted from April 15, 2013

Special Use for Halfway House for up to 30 youths, ages of 12-18 years.

In 2013. I knew that the Masonic Temple would never again have such a quality tenant as Buckno and Lisicky. However, to go from the most prestigious accountant in the valley, to a halfway house for delinquents, is indeed a sorry consequence of the NIZ. The beautiful murals and decor of that building will not survive the new tenants.


doug_b said...

Have you ever had an aquarium? This is like the fish eating the fry!

State sponsored stealing of customers.

LVCI said...

The NIZ keeps sucking all the air out of the room. Once this stuff goes away they can't be replaced.

Most of the companies moving into NIZ left buildings they once owned to become tenants. Thus freeing them to vamoose when the next tax break lures them away in a few years.

Every month that passes Allentown's future becomes more unstable because it's ever increasing dependency on rental incomes. If we accept the developer's at his word he's in it for the long term it still doesn't negate the fact he too depends on the incomes from renters who have little skin in the game.

NIZ is the giant granddaddy of them all when it comes to rentals. Down the pike I doubt 1/3 of these same tenets will still be there judging by the turnover we've already seen. Many may think rentals are the way to go. I'm not one of them.

LVCI said...

AFTER THOUGHT-- There can be no finer example then Masonic itself which now finds itself facing similar problems when a tenant decides to leave.

Monkey Momma said...

The proximity of the Masonic Temple and Allen High makes me think a halfway house for juveniles is not such a stupid idea.

(My offensive sarcasm is on display today.)

LVCI said...

Monkey Mamma I'm guilty. I was thinking the same thing :-)

Seriously, I find it a really bad idea for neighbors like Scott Armstrong and others who already have to put up with students leaving the H.S. This plus how it will affect the park across the street. For years Allentown has been spreading problems further west into each neighborhood. Who'd want to buy west end properties knowing it's only a matter of time till it becomes like the rest of downtown?

Jamie Kelton said...

My family lived on Linden between 14th and Franklin when I was growing up. I would walk the short distance to William Allen and back when I was in high school.

Today, there is no way I would live in our old house, sorry.

George Ruth said...

I share Jamie's sentiments. Nor would I encourage my kids to take jobs at 16th and Linden Streets. Heck, Allen High is currently a virtual no-way house.