Jun 16, 2017
The Paper's Morning Yarn
The Morning Call headlines that the new Strata Loft apartments are all spoken for before the building is even finished. I have claimed that this is erroneous at the most innocent, and an outright informercial at the more dubious. I think that after three years of their articles we can dismiss the innocent error option. I have discovered that many of the apartments are both vacant and rented at the same time. Apparently, City Center LLC has included some apartments with commercial office leases. A number of the apartments are assigned to the hockey team.
Needless to say if all the apartments were really rented to people living in them, restaurants wouldn't be closing, and the Moravian Bookstore could have sold a few books.
We find Rite-Aid coming back, and less pricey eateries going into the closing upscale locations. Between market forces and the pressure for inclusionary housing*, we know who will be living in the new apartments soon enough. Today, someone mentioned to me how she and her husband dine in Bethlehem and Easton, but not Allentown. They feel Allentown has no charm or ambience. They certainly would have no desire to walk around in Allentown after their meal. There was organic growth in Bethlehem and Easton which grew to meet a demand. In Allentown, a developer keeps building to take advantage of an unprecedented tax incentive. The Morning Call can act like a public relations firm instead of a newspaper, but they can't put patrons at restaurant tables or in the upscale stores.
* I suppose you could EXCLUDE people by announcing that the units are full before they're completed, and have a waiting list. Would the paper cooperate with such a scheme? ADDENDUM: I do not see any need for inclusionary housing in Allentown. There is no shortage of apartments available in downtown, nor has gentrification created a market shortage. The idea that a certain percentage of new luxury units should be set aside for people of less income is social engineering beyond the notion of this blog.