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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, December 09, 2011

Allentown: How Sweet It NIZ

According to a Morning Call account, Alvin H. Butz, Inc intends to take advantage of a $3 million state grant and NIZ financing to expand its operations.

What a sweet deal for the Butz family! Financing for their new office building through the NIZ and a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant - it doesn't get any better than that powerful subsidy cocktail. A NIZ financing package, funded by the Commonwealth, and a $3 million RACP grant, which also just happens to be funded by the Commonwealth.

This is ridiculous. Shouldn't an RACP grant recipient be barred from using NIZ benefits simultaneously? Did Senator Pat Browne think about that when he wrote the NIZ bill?

How can any "mere mortal" developer compete with that?  Butz' rent should be very competitive. They can, and should, do better than even J. B. Reilly in the pricing area. The only difference is they may have overpaid for the adjacent properties. J. B. bought his properties at a more reasonable price.

By the way, did you see who owned the adjacent properties to the Butz tower? Alliance for Building Communities (ABC). Let's connect some dots. Ed Pawlowski was a former Executive Director of ABC. Current Executive Director and President is Gerry Alfano. Guess what Gerry does in his spare time? He chairs the Allentown Commercial and Industrial Development Authority (ACIDA).

You may have heard of them.

ACIDA just happens to be the current authority that is managing the Arena project. It's dispensing, rather subjectively, the financial benefits of the NIZ to interested developers. I would hope that Chairman Alfano would be abstaining from any ACIDA actions involving property formerly owned by his non-profit , ABC, which was sold to Butz for a very friendly price.

It's surprising J. B. Reilly's brother in law didn't get in on this deal. He is such a real estate maven. He had the foresight to buy properties early on Hamilton Street and then fortuitously flip them to ACIDA at a most propitious and favorable price within weeks of purchase. They just "happened" to be in the Arena block. Of course when he bought them, he had no idea. (Wink, wink!) He just had a "hunch."

Updated 10:05 AM: Blogger Michael Molovinsky, who is far more knowledgeable about Allentown than I, fills in some of the missing pieces on this post.


Bill Coker said...

What an amazing set of coincidents! Who would have thought? Still wants to see what happens with this shooting gallery when the arena gets built (if ever). Expensive garage parking and traffic nightmares will make those games real fun nights.

Anonymous said...

Oh how sweet it is! Hmmm!

Anonymous said...

Allentown residents should demand an independent investigation!

Monkey Momma said...

How much has Butz donated to Sen. Browne's campaigns?

Anonymous said...

Who do Allentown residents have to blame? Themselves. How many attend council meetings or economic development or planning or any of the multitude of department meetings.
How many government meetings have you covered where the room is almost empty?

Anonymous said...

hey 6:59 AM ,
would attending these sham meetings make one iota of difference?

Jon Geeting said...

Blah blah blah - meanwhile this building adds 200 more workers downtown. That's 200 more people for existing and potential businesses to sell to:

When fully leased, Butz estimated the addition could add another 200 employees to the site. The existing Butz Corporate Center at 840 W. Hamilton St. is 90 percent occupied and employs about 200, he said.

Anonymous said...

Plus Lee Butz gets to smile and wave at the friendly folks in downtown as he drives back to his house in Parkland. Butz gets to play the role of good samaritan and Allentown cheerleader, with no real interest in Allentown outside of using his political pull with Pawlowski to reap personal profits.

Well at least that shrinking demographic of Allentown residents who actually work at a job will have higher water, sewer and garbage fees yet again to pay for the EMS services we never use.

Zorn the Great said...

is there an honest pol in all of the valley?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Blah blah blah - meanwhile this building adds 200 more workers downtown. That's 200 more people for existing and potential businesses to sell to:"

Jonathan, thse 200 jobs haven't been secured yet. That's the Butz projection on occupancy at full build out and lease of the new space. Second, "all" income taxes, sales taxes and any and all taxes paid to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and City and School District, along with corporate net income taxes, among others, will be used to pay the Butz mortgage. More than likely these 200 jobs will come from somewhere else in the region - since Butz can offer sweetheart leases to prospective tenants - thereby creating leasing holes and occupancy voids in another municipality or heaven forbid another part of Allentown.

So basically, you don't know what you're taking about, as usual.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Who do Allentown residents have to blame? Themselves."

We get the government we deserve.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"How much has Butz donated to Sen. Browne's campaigns?"

Butz is a major campaign donor to many incumbents, including Browne. I'll get details over the weekend.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if What-Am-I-Gettings-From-Big-Government? knows the history of JOHNNY MANANA's while he's thrilling all of us with stories of 200 jobs.

Chairman Pawlowski promised us that JM's would be a "cornerstone" of economic development.



Anonymous said...

Geeting's response is not surprising. He's a radical left liberal, they love sleazy backroom deals that their friends get lots of money from while the poor working guy takes another nut shot.

The latest one is the Siga Technologies smallpox vaccine ripoff. An Obama supporter gets a $443 million no-bid contract to provide a vaccine for an egregious price, that doesn't meet specs, and that we don't need anyway.

Geeting wants politics as usual - slippery, backroom politics.

Anonymous said...

hey 6:59 AM ,
would attending these sham meetings make one iota of difference?

7:12 AM

An apology. As someone who has attended many council meetings, it is very discouraging. You're right.

Anonymous said...


Keep in mind; Allentown’s Democrat voters just put Frank Concannon back into office as a city councilperson. Frank is a real team player who demonstrated his commitment to the cause by never doing a single audit of anything as city controller. This sort of fidelity isn’t uncommon in the Queen City. Too bad.

Scott Armstrong