Aug 10, 2017

Allentown's Planning Puppies

Longtime readers of this blog know that I have written about these puppies before, when they approved the arena itself.  At that time, I said that one of them tried to bark, but hadn't really learned yet,  but that they were so cute.   They're still obedient, and this week passed J.B. Reilly's plans for the Croc Rock site.  One planner praised the proposed design,  inadvertently acknowledging  that their previous approvals were devoid of architectural merit. Could you imagine them not approving a  Reilly proposal?

By coincidence, many years ago I  happen to be sitting with Joe Clark when the then mayor phoned him about his plans for that nightclub. Lets just say that he didn't get the cooperation that Reilly is getting, nor did he get to pay for it with our state tax money.

Also on the puppy's menu was Nat Hyman's proposal to turn the massive Phoenix Mill building into apartments.  I have an issue with these conversion projects.  On one hand,  additional apartments contribute to the poverty magnate, by making housing relatively overly abundant  and cheap in center city. However, I do believe in the right of property owners to utilize their investment, and alternative  commercial uses for such buildings no longer exist.  Some people on Facebook wonder if such a project is a conflict of interest for a mayoral candidate.  I think not, and Hyman will seek all necessary approvals before serving, if elected.


Dave said...

One has to wonder just how seriously Nat Hyman is taking his mayoral campaign. Two weeks or so ago, Pawlowski is hit with 50+ indictments and then makes a whining speech on the steps of his home saying he's innocent with his lawyer and all sorts of media covering it. Nary a word from Hyman about it. In fact, Ed is running around town with his Pawlowskibus pumping up his supporters and Hyman is no where to be found.

Oh, now he files to renovate the Adelaide Mills. This project may not start until after the election and take several months. Now that's fine if Hyman is planning to stay a developer, but can he do this if he's Mayor of Allentown Pennsylvania, the third-biggest city in the Commonwealth ?

Hyman should have been standing on the steps of City Hall the same Day Pawlowski was saying he's innocent, hitting Pawlowski HARD on things such has Mail Fraud, Bribery, and all of the other felonies in from of 69 News, the Morning Call, the Philadelphia stations and all of the other media. My God and he's silent ? He needs to do press conferences and get free media exposure denouncing Pawlowski at every chance he gets.

Pawlowski is wounded, he's not dead. If Hyman wants to be Mayor he's got to campaign to BE Mayor. But then he announces renovation projects that would take up all of his time. Is he really serious about the campaign ? Or did he give up when O'Connell said he's running as a write-in candidate and think that's it I can't win, let me get on doing what I'm good doing.

Where was Hyman's statement about the Morning Call article saying the US Attorney won't even begin to prosecute until January? Silence..

Maybe it's that Hyman is having second thoughts about being a politician

Scott Armstrong said...


While I agree in general with you on property rights I disagree with you that a property owner has the right to do what he/she wants with his/her property if the intention violates established zoning status. I will not rehash my objections the dangers of converting city land that is zoned non-residential to residential. Been there done that and have made lots of new friends in the process.
This said, while I disagree that this project should have been approved or is even in the city's best interests, that is a disagreement honest people can have. Disagreement with Ed Pawlowski not only involved his lack of interest in improving the neighborhoods but his apparent corruption and his corrupting influence on the city.
One more thing, it's August, no one is following politics but a few die hards like us. Smart politicians keep their powder dry until after labor day.

michael molovinsky said...

dave@6:21, my gut reaction to your excellent points is that hyman knows that his opponents will announce loud and clear that he is a landlord, regardless of how he ramps up or down his business interests. he is well capable of multi-tasking, having operated several businesses together for many years.

i don't operate as a reporter, instead providing informed commentary. however, sometime before the election i will sit down with hyman.

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

More housing without real jobs in the city is a farce. Any mayor should be looking to bring manufacturing jobs to the city. Not retail, not restaurants or more hud housing. Bring real jobs and the city will attract residents who will pay taxes and the rest will follow. Until the city can attract residents who are self supporting and companies that can prosper without subsidies there will not be any improvement. This requires creating an atmosphere to attract real wealth producing business.

michael molovinsky said...

scott@7:09, as you well know Allentown changed its zoning that conversion from commercial (factory/warehouse) to residential was a permitted use, while previously requiring a special exception. I would have preferred that allowing additional units in Allentown required the demolition or deconversion of previous blighted units. However, considering the zoning change, Hyman now has the right assuming he meets the other requirements, i.e. parking, sq. ft, etc.

as a property rights advocate i didn't mean to imply that such a right supersedes zoning.

michael molovinsky said...

ray@7:18, it's ironic that allentown had one industrial zone left down by the river, with the last working rail spur line.

the planning puppies (different litter) decided to relocate the commercial businesses and rip up the tracks.

now a third litter wants to spend $millions to relay removed tracks to S. 10th street with a hope and prayer of attracting a new business. gotta love our puppies

Jamie Kelton said...

I agree with dave@6:21 on this. Imagine if President Trump announced a major development project while he was running for President last year. The media and Democrats would make so much hay out of it, he'd be crucified.

Mr Molovinski, I know you like Mr Hyman. But either he wants to be mayor or he wants to manage his company. He can't do both. And this is a massive conflict of interest as well

michael molovinsky said...

jamie@10:28, hyman purchased this building a while ago with the intention of developing it. that requires a sequence of steps, and the planning commission was the next step. it's august, the election isn't until november, and if he wins his term wouldn't start until january. i see no conflict of interest with him proceeding with his plans at this time.

TRENT HALL said...

Official government business meetings/events/offices etc., are located in Trump buildings and no one, outside of Democratic partisan groups, is concerned. Conflict of interests is de jure dead in politics now days. Members of Congress vote on favoring legislation they have investments in; it's old news and no one is excited.

The idea that Hyman or any candidate has to divest himself from multi-tasking/business interests is out dated. Even Supreme Court Justices now adays are not required to recuse themselves from voting on matters before them that they have investments in. Some may do so, others's their choice.

Should Hyman get elected, he might decide to entrust others to manage the businesses/properties. If so, it would be a PR choice of his, not a requirement.

The serious "crimes" the Mayor is indicted for don't involve any businesses he is an owner in; rather, they allege the award of contracts/etc., were a quid pro quo result of campaign funds solicited for the award of said contracts themselves.