Jan 27, 2023

The Neuweiler Story

Allentown's NIZ was a boutique legislation that allows private property to be publicly financed.  On the up side, for the most part, the beneficiaries have been local boys. That is about to change. 

The Morning Call had an excellent report on a New Jersey firm muscling in on our tax dollar giveaway. They learned their lesson well from the first interloper, Ruckus Brewery.  Ruckus was set up with the Neuweiler Brewery by Mike Fleck, before he went to the pokey with Pawlowski.  Ruckus managed to raise money from their NIZ approval and get possession of the brewery without actually spending any of their own money. For that fund raising, they changed their name to Brewers Hill.  Previously they never even had experience with actual brewing or real estate...Never underestimate the value of a political connection.

Like Ruckus/Brewers Hill, the new player promises to relocate their office here to Allentown. Sprinkle in a promise of affordable housing, and the Allentown welcome mat is out.  They have agreements now with Brewers Hill, and options on neighborhood properties. 

Personally, I preferred my tax dollars benefiting the local boys, like Reilly and Jaindl.

photocredit: Robert Walker

above reprinted from February of 2021

UPDATE MAY 18, 2022: With the recent news about Neuweilers, I decided to revisit the brewery posts. The post above is just one of dozens I have written on the brewery since 2008. I may have somewhat more knowledge about the topic than the Morning Call's changing cast of reporters, because I had actually sat down with the last private owner. In 2007 Pawlowski said that "We have to get it out of the hands of this guy," It was also the last time that any property taxes were paid on the property. While the city took procession supposedly because no improvements were made, likewise nothing has been done since, fifteen years later. Actually, the property now is in considerably worse condition. But in addition to no taxes being paid in all these years, we have been paying the salaries of the bureaucrats in the various controlling agencies since the property was confiscated.

Whether demolished or restored, or a combination of both, we all want to see change at the property. But understand that we as taxpayers will be paying for that change with our diverted state income taxes. Understand that although the project will be publicly financed, it will be privately owned.

Those interested in an account of the situation from 2007 until now, can use the search engine of this blog's sidebar... simply type in Neuweiler brewery.

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 15, 2022: A recent headline in the Morning Call put this money pit back on this blog's front burner. It referred to investment coming to the river. It all these years of NIZ promoting, the Morning Call has never clarified that the investment is our money, our diverted state taxes. Perhaps the new crop of young reporters don't fully understand that. I can appreciate that it's hard to understand how privately owned buildings can be completely publicly paid for....Credit outgoing state senator Pat Browne for that grab of the century. As for Neuweilers, before the recent owners signed over to the current owners, they were given a couple $mil in seed money by the public authority. An enterprising reporter or investigator, might want to track where those dollars went.

Down the road, when some local cheerleader strolls up to the new bar at Neuweilers, and orders the first brewski,  he'll have no idea how many $millions and $millions it really cost the taxpayers.

UPDATE JANUARY 27, 2023: Demolition has begun on the brewery, only the iconic front tower portion will remain.  That portion has been so structurally compromised from neglect, that its preservation is only possible because of our unaccounted for tax dollars. I'm amused how people are so excited about the project, but so oblivious to the true story about it, outlined above. There are a few civic notables relieved that scrutiny, so far, has been limited to this blog.


  1. A prediction is that in the end, the developers will spend more money rebuilding that front tower, and likely will wish the wrecking ball just completed the demolition completely. What will likely happen is that the developers will wind up doing is rebuilding it for aesthetic reasons in the same way the Dime Bank building was rebuilt.

    However the elephant in the room is the location and viability of the 'high end' apartments which will be built after the brewery is torn down.. The ward isn't downtown Allentown in terms of attracting tenants to live there.

  2. anon@6:01: even downtown fails at attracting tenants, the occupancy rates are greatly exaggerated. However, both projects are NIZ, which means that our diverted state taxes pay the debt service, the developers are not dependent on rent revenue. The recent gala for Pat Browne shows that the notables are content with the farce, knowing that Harrisburg approved it all, and that they're legally clear.

  3. Mike this incredible theft of PA's tax money should be rendered Jul and void immediately. Than the real property should be evaluated for the sale to get PA's stolen taxes back as all of pa is suffering because of this farce.
    The people in charge have no accountability to anyone and are over inflating the cash numbers to fill personal bank accounts. Also giving grants that are only giving back to this farce as rent with no actual revenue from the received grant.

  4. The Neuweiler building has not had much damage to it's structure over the years, although it seems that way. The brick is just an out coating to make it look pretty. The structure is steel grids with poured concrete floors. The outer bricks can just fall off and there is no structure isses.

    The Brewhouse portion looks so bad because there were holes formed in the construction to put in the tanks. The entire structure is on steel beams that run straight up the building and 90 feet below the building's surface.

    The structural integrity of the building has never been in jeopardy, no matter how bad it looks.

    The reason for the demolition is, more than likely because the way the building's northern rooms are set up is not condusive to reuse. They are built as a second brick building and the only access to them from the brewhouse is a small stairwell.

    As much as I don't like the idea of the demolition of the building, at least they are savind the iconic front sections.

    Too bad the smokestack wasn't still there that the City tore down as a statement to the former owner. That stack too had no structural issues, as certified by a structural engineer, when it was torn town.