Oct 25, 2022

Morning Call as A Madam

The Morning Call is featuring, for the umpteenth time, another new store on the Arts Walk.  A real headline would be Another Failure On The Artwork Being Replaced.  I have been complaining about the Morning Call promoting the NIZ since before it began. When I saw that their former newspaper building, on the wrong side of Linden Street, was being included in the NIZ map anyway, I knew that their reporting would be less than objective. However, I never expected them to be an outright madam.  I use the M word, instead of the W word, because of search engines. Last time I used the W word, I got too many inquiries from the weirdo crowd. 

Students of this blog know that I also maintain that there is something weird about the supposed occupancy of the apartment buildings, Strata This, That and Whatever. Why can't all these supposed people keep any of these stores in business?

I don't know the answers to these questions, but I do know that you won't find them in the Morning Call.


  1. it does appear that there is very little independent media left in this country. The MC is just a small example of the coordination of the media with government and, big corporate and political interests.
    It does not look like it will be improved in the near future.

  2. I received an anonymous comment saying that wh--e and prostit--e is a more fitting description of the MC. I am serious about NOT using those specific words in either the posts or comments...Such comments will be rejected, they trigger spam.
    On the topic of rejected comments, while this blog welcomes comments, not all are published. Comments must add to the dialogue. Comments such as I agree are not published, neither is "chatting" among commenters. Comments which can be construed as hateful are also rejected.

  3. I claim it all the time. The Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone has been a massive financial failure put upon Pennsylvania taxpayers. The scheme has put us millions of dollars behind in usual (pre-NIZ) State Tax revenue and the deficit continues to grow.

    Taxpayers can’t even recoup their loss by selling off some of the buildings. We have no equity position.

    I’m not aware of any in-depth examination by the Morning Call in effort to determine the viability of such an arrangement. Maybe my impressions are all wrong. It’s like this is something secret. Why?

  4. Of course you’re preaching to the choir here. The NIZ smelled before any office or residential buildings were built. False marketing, 100% leased before finished baloney, a bogus board that talks of community community, but just generates press releases, a constant string of “new restaurants opening” to replace the string of recently-new restaurants closing, an arts council that entertains the same group over and over, and all this on public funds. The missing link here was/is individual ownership. Condo ownership would have helped, but for some reason Allentown has no residential or business condos. I guess that would require sharing some of the pie. 10 to 15 years from now there will be even more empty office spaces, and Mr. R and Pat Browne will be permanent residents of Palm Beach, and we’ll be left with the tax mess.

  5. I suspect, but don't know, that much of the "reporting" is actually in-kind advertising arranged by City Center.

    Similarly, I think the failure of individual shops that you see is the result of excessive rent being charged by the landlord, who is skimming a share of the shop's revenues to the point where the shop owner is on a very thin margin. Again, my guess is that the landlord in many (if not all) cases is also City Center.

  6. anon@9:56; you're correct that the landlord is City Center RE. However, I believe that the rents are actually very reasonable, and that the businesses still can't afford the other overhead, such as wages, or the value of their own time.

  7. 9:56 here again.

    I don't believe the rent is a reasonable as you believe, but let's assume that it is.

    If the rent is reasonable, but "the businesses still can't afford other overhead, such as wages or the value of their own time", where must the problem be?

    To me then, only the revenue side is left. Which (again if rent is reasonable) means that they either need to raise prices or aren't getting enough customers to make it. I don't know the last time that you've visited one of these shops, but I wouldn't say any are exactly charging bargain prices. In fact, I'd say they're among the higher prices you'd find anywhere.

    So if they're already have their prices set as high as they can, to me that means that City Center doesn't have their properties filled; or has overbuilt the number of shops/restaurants and isn't drawing enough people in from the outside to support them.

    If we're going to believe what we're being told by the Morning Call and City Center about the downtown apartments being filled, then City Hall should be very concerned about the latter possibility and trying to find out why.

    Hint: The answer goes back to things like you covered in your post yesterday.

  8. Considering the ever changing business scene in the NIZ, my theory is heavily reduced rent deals are offered to keep the store fronts active and the district looking healthy.

    It seems many of those business closings happen with one year, or less. It’s hard to keep track of all the changes but early on, places like Shula’s and Moravian Book Shop quickly realized the foot traffic through their doors was never going to be enough. Also consider the early failure of the Cosmopolitan, the limited use of Symphony Hall.

  9. Human warehousing is becoming the rage in Allentown. Are these supposed tenants members of a cult who never come out of their apartments or turn their lights on at night? The aliens might have finally decided to take up residence with us. One can always wonder where have all the people gone. Downtown has no character at all anymore. Just one colossal apartment complex surrounded by a ring of crime and increasingly destitute neighborhoods. And, of course, droves who like to double park continue to entertain.

  10. MM said: "Students of this blog know that I also maintain that there is something weird about the supposed occupancy of the apartment buildings, Strata This, That and Whatever."
    Now your getting to the crux of some of the problems... IF we are to BELIEVE everything is FULLY rented and we need MORE, MUCH more rentals, why are the "for rent" and "for lease" signs all over on these "FILLED" buildings???? Something just doesn't pass the smell test!!! I, too, have noticed a distinct absence of artificial light in these "fully rented" luxury apartments... maybe the rent is so high they need to economize on their electric bills???? Just wondering... (what in Sam Hill is going on right under our collective noses....)

  11. anon@6:10; and more are being built, in the 900 and 1000 block. A storefront or two in each building allows them to qualify under the NIZ guidelines, and if anybody is scrutinizing anyway? State cigarette tax is also being heavily utilized. Apparently, because our diverted state taxes pay his debt service, he'll build them now, and worry or not about renting them later. Perhaps we're better off with them vacate, then occupied by problem people.

  12. I think eventually some of these apartment buildings WILL be used for low income housing. I don’t know the arrangement now as it applies to Section 8 Vouchers being used in a NIZ building but the call for that will certainly be heard. Who knows? Maybe it can sell an entire building back (at a nice profit) to some government agency for this purpose!