May 4, 2016

Reilly's NIZ Party Ending

J.B. Reilly is starting to turn off the lights, the party is ending. The plans for the mega-project with towers at 7th and Walnut and 8th and Hamilton, with an internal park connecting them, is on hold. Instead, he's developing a condo office project at 6th and Hamilton. Although his reporter at the Morning Call spun it as positively as he could, there's no way to hide the downsizing of the plans. Selling condo offices means that in spite of beating the bushes, the supply of commercial rental tenants is drying up.

It must be discouraging for Jaindl's waterfront plans, and I can't see Harrisburg sweetening the pot.

I do give his apartment tenants in the Strata Lofts credit for energy conservation. I never see any lights when I drive by.


Robert Burritsch said...

City Center Five is "on hold". O'Reilly has certainly made downtown aesthetically interesting, to say the least. Amid the shiny new buildings and facades now lies an eyesore of property between Seventh and Eight Streets parallel to Walnut Street with no apparent plans for development anytime soon. Whatever became of the wonderful Landmark Tower that was to be built at Ninth and Walnut Streets? A lot of hype and then nothing. I presume that Bruce Loch hasn't been able to secure an anchor tenant as well

Scott Armstrong said...

The NIZ was used by Ed as a vehicle to collect campaign cash. Pouring money/tax dollars into a corrupt municipality was never a good idea. No one should be surprised by the results. That said, now that the deal is done it is again Ed that is the main impediment to a better Allentown.

michael molovinsky said...

scott@7:21,, i believe that pawlowski was never a factor in the NIZ, it just happen to occur on his watch. IMO, the slowdown is simply supply and demand. Reilly has already poached all the substantial tenants willing to move downtown. the same factors which caused tenants to move out of town 20 years ago, like Merrill Lynch, still exist. except for a few new buildings, town is very much the same. imagine how lunch and commuting will be for the talen workers down at the river. they will have to drive through a combat zone to a barren expanse along the river. they will long for the good old days at 9th and hamilton.

Dave said...

When the light bulb burns out, it's never a gradual dimming. You hear a pop or maybe even a bang and then it's dark. The best use for the City Center Five site is to turn it into a large city park. Hell, call it Reilly Park. It would then have a level of usefulness.

Given the state of our economy today, versus what it was in 1948, Bruce Loch's "Needle" design might as well wind up at the Historical Society as well as the Five City Center one.

The law of supply and demand does work. Economics will not be denied.

George Ruth said...

1) The good news is that the tradition of PPL Building being the tallest in Allentown will survive.
2) This is no mere change in plans for the NIZ. If so, they would have simply made the towers a few floors lower.
3) So now Reilly wants to share the downside with a few more suckers who will be part 'owners' of the new 20-unit office building. Just ask condo 'owners' in major cities how much they feel like they 'own' their units. Ask them about the never-ending increases in maintenance fees they are hit with. It is the business and residential version of Timeshares.
4) You are correct in pointing out that this portends bad things for the Jaindl River project. Keep you eyes open for changes there to include more 'affordable' housing.

LVCI said...

George Ruth- "Just ask condo 'owners'... never-ending increases in maintenance fees"
Good point that's what I was thinking and why we'd never buy into one. Much the same reasons we were turned off by a mobile home park we once looked into. These not only carry monthly fees, but sometimes additional assessments can be imposed. Both require owner approval who they can sell their property to as well. I'd be surprised if there a lot of takers.

michael molovinsky said...

LVCI@11:56, regardless of the amount of takers, expect the morning call to report that they're selling like hotcakes. i note that reilly is using a partner on these recent projects, although he has the funding and expertise to do them by himself