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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, April 26, 2012

When The Hockey Arena Gets Old

Sitting atop a massive heap of rubble in downtown Allentown, King Edwin wants construction on the NIZ arena to begin NOW! Full speed ahead. Drop those pesky challenges. Who cares about the Constitutution anyway?

OK, so what happens ten or twenty years from now, when the Phantoms decide to move somewhere else? What happens to the arena?

This is a question municipal officials are asking about once heralded Astrodome, which is now falling apart. It's a question that should be asked before any sports venue, with the possible exception of a baseball stadium, is built.

According to Governing, they become white elephants, a drain n the local economy. Here are a few examples.
Houston's Astrodome once housed the Oilers National Football League team and the Astros Major League Baseball team. Today, the Astrodome doesn't have an occupancy permit and has been condemned by the city's fire marshall.

The Citrus Bowl in Orlando underwent a $10 million renovation in 2010, and eventually, another $165 million will be put into the city-owned stadium primarily known for hosting three college football games each year.

In 2010, officials in Lee County, Fla, voted to fund a new, $81 million spring training home for the Red Sox, even though the existing stadium, City of Palms Park, isn't even 20 years old. Local leaders don't know what to do with it, but they're considering turning it into a venue for swimming contests.

San Antonio's $186 million Alamodome opened in 1993 in a failed attempt at landing an NFL franchise. For years, its only regularly-scheduled, large-scale event was a college football bowl game. This year, it got new life, serving as home of University of Texas-San Antonio's new football team.

Demolition of the old Tiger Stadium in Detroit didn't begin until 2008 -- eight years after the baseball team moved to a new ballpark -- once it became clear that redevelopment wasn't going to happen.

In a controversial move, the state-appointed emergency manager of Pontiac, Mich. sold the 80,000-seat Silverdome, once home to the NFL’s Detroit Lions, for just $583,000 in 2009. He said the facility “had been sapping the lifeblood of the city for many years."

Homestead, Fla. built a spring training stadium for the Cleveland Indians, but a hurricane damaged it in 1992 before the first game. It was quickly rebuilt, but by then the team had a new home. After languishing for years, the stadium may have new life, after a sports media company agreed to spend $1.7 million on renovations.

Professional football left RFK Stadium after the 1996 season, and baseball left after 2007. Today, the stadium's main draw is the D.C. United soccer team -- and they're angling for a new facility.


Anonymous said...

Kill the arena...we need a special tax incentive for pawn shops, massage parlors, and payday loan stores!...that's where the jobs are, not some ridiculous Arena that will employ hundreds to construct and employ thousands long term...screw that...keep up the efforts Bernie...Stop Progress!...Stop the Arena!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

I see. Let's have an arena that will pay PT workers a minimum wage to hand out fries and collect tickets. let's get rid of urban ear shops, no matter how successful, bc they appeal to a certain demographic you'd like not to see. Thanks for making it so clear.

Anonymous said...

"Thousands long term"

Just like Coca-Cola (Taxpayer) Park, right?


Anonymous said...

Life has become a gamble here in the Greater Lehigh Valley.

Las Vegas Sands Casino is the only winner as they announce their "Sands Bethlehem produced a record quarter with $27.5 million", too me, that means there are alot of losers here in the valley and the hole in the center of Allentown is on a road to a major loss!

small business dude said...

anon 1043

How will the arena employ thousands long term? Where is this number from?
Not to mention the shop owners whose property was stolen mostly lived downtown and spent money downtown. I doubt the new jobs created will have the same effect.

Anonymous said...

Down with all government arena/nursing homes. They are illegal and wrong.

I agree with Bernie, so when is that Toyota plant opening with all those high paid jobs for unskilled labor Mr. O'Hare???

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

Interesting question you ask in your post, and (as you pointed out) one that should be answered beforehand.

But has ANYTHING with this plan been thought out ahead of time, or at least conveyed to the public? Is Pawlowski hiding things, or is he simply that inept?

The sooner those involved with the arena realize that it cannot succeed with Pawlowski involved, the sooner they might get what they want.

That would also require a great degree of honesty with the people, something that has been sorely lacking to date.

ironpigpen said...

"long term"?


Quebec City, QUE ... 67/68 to 70/71
Richmond, VA ... 71/72 to 75/76
Springfield, MA ... 76/77
Portland, ME ... 77/78 to 82/83
Springfield, MA ... 83/84
Hershey, PA ... 84/85 to 95/96
Philadelphia, PA ... 96/97 to 08/09
Glens Falls, NY ... 09/10 to present


the above chart was inspired by FUTURE DOWNTOWN ARENA ATTENDEE and the rest of the NIZ CHEERLEADERS

ironpigpen said...

"long term"?

FACT : the American Hockey League had 63 DIFFERENT cities host an AHL team in the league's first 73 years of existance ...

... Adirondack (Glens Falls), Albany (Capital District), Baltimore, Binghamton, Boston, Bridgeport, Buffalo, Cape Breton, Carolina, Chicago, Cleveland (Lake Erie), Cincinnati, Cornwall, Des Moines (Iowa), Edmonton, Erie, Fredericton, Grand Rapids, Halifax, Hamilton, Hampton, Hartford, Hershey, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Lowell, Manchester, Milwaukee, Moncton, Montreal, New Brunswick, New Haven, Newmarket, Norfolk, Omaha, Peoria, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Prince Edward Island, Providence, Quad City, Quebec City, Richmond, Rochester, Rockford, Saint John, Salt Lake City (Utah), San Antonio, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Sherbrooke, Springfield, St. Catherines, St. John's, St. Louis, Syracuse, Toronto, Utica, Washington, Winnipeg (Manitoba), Worcester


Inspiration for this post can be attributed to Chairman Pawlowski, the all-Dummyrat Rubber Stamp Council of Apparatchiks, Future Downtown Arena Attendee and the rest of the NIZ Cheerleaders.

Anonymous said...

What, you mean President Pawlowski won't swoop in and save the day?

Maybe Secretary of State Geeting will instead.

Reilly will be retired, wearing white shoes and a belt and living in the Condos of Del Boca Vista, Phase 17

ironpigpen said...

But PAWLOWSKI's PHANTOMS will be throwing haymakers on Hamilton Street FOREVER ...

... and creating THOUSANDS of jobs in the process.

Okay, whatever YOU say!!!

Anonymous said...

Honest question - What % of local government revenue does this NIZ thing amount to for Allentown or the townships?

I get that people don't like taxpayers footing the bill for wealthy team owners, but unfortunately its the current reality in this country, along with such gems as Personal Seat Licenses and $10 watery beers. It sucks, but it is what it is.

All I know is that people were raging about Coca-Cola Park and saying the Iron Pigs were going to be a total flop after the first season, yet they still pack them in and I believe are generally viewed in a positive light around the Lehigh Valley as a quality entertainment event for a relatively cheap cost. I know people from as far away as Harrisburg, Scranton, suburban Philly and North Jersey that regulary come out to games each season.

I think you are vastly underestimating the demand there will be for AHL hockey in the Lehigh Valley. They will easily sell 5K in season tickets if not more. It will not be an empty building.

To the list above showing locations for farm clubs, Hershey, Springfield & Portland all still have teams, just like baseball, the affiliations can change. If the Flyers were to decide to move, I'm sure another team would supply players. The Greater Lehigh Valley will support a team.

Again, I'll plead intentional ignorance on this topic (you seem a bit fixated on it lately Bernie), but for those of you thinking/hoping the arena and team will fail you're wrong.

Please note I did say arena and team - the rest of the projected development is 50/50 based on parking, traffic and perceived safety.

Anonymous said...

I think most people want it to succeed. Its just that MOST people don't want to use taxpayer money. easy-peezy-japanezy


Anonymous said...

Please go to this site and look at the $7.1 million of taxes being diverted to the NIZ based on the State tax certification letter.


Anonymous said...

You are such a wet blanet Bernie. Chicken Littles like you predicted that AAA baseball was going to be a giant flop and look how successful the IronPigs have been. Your blind hatred for Pawlowski will only result in the Lehigh Valley losing the only opportunity this area has had to build a first class arena. We will never build an arena with Debbie Downers like you pissing all over it. You are a useless, non-productive pundit who can only criticize others who are trying to make the valley a better place to live. Whatever little respect I had for you has been lost with this mean-spirited campaign. When the arena is built and successful five years later you may finally crawl under the rock you came from.

Bernie O'Hare said...

If I am a useless, nonproductive pundit, why worry about me?

Anonymous said...

Yes Bernie, you are a "blanet"

Anonymous said...

BOH's vast sports knowledge comes to the fore once again. Yes, the Astrodome is old. That's why it was replaced by Minute Maid Park and Reliant Stadium. So when the arena in Allentown gets old, it will get replaced. Wow. How horrible.

And thanks to IronPigPen who pointed out that the Phantoms were in Philiadelphia for 12 years prior to them tearing down the Spectrum where they were simply the most successful AHL team in the league. Allentown/Bethlehem is the chosen training and farm location for three major league Philadelphia teams. You think they chose this region on a whim?

Another with vast sports knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Tiger Stadium, having grown up in Detroit, for old time's sake, I drove by the old stadium a couple of years ago.

Looked about like this...


But on the positive side, it fit right in with the surrounding neighborhood, so at least Allentown has some esthetic symmetry to look forward to.

Anonymous said...

"and employ thousands long term" ~ anon 10:43

"300 part time jobs" ~ Sara Hailstone

" pay PT workers a minimum wage to hand out fries and collect tickets." Bernie

nuff said

Nicholas Koch Elgin South Carolina said...

I believe the lehigh Valley is an ideal location for the Phillie's and Flyer's farm teams.
I think the Lehigh Valley is unique in serving its big league teams. Its location is perfect for last minute call ups.
The Ironpigs are a huge success.
And I think the Phantoms will be just as much a success.
The Lehigh valley has been hungry for a sports team for decades.
I always thought the Lehigh Valley was perfect for a AAA team or a Farm team of the Flyers.
Hopefully it will all work out.
You will always have haters, but I ignore them