Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller will hold a public meeting next week to discuss the Hamilton Crossings Shopping Center Project proposed in Lower Macungie Township. The public will have the opportunity to meet the developers,give input and ask questions. The media is also invited to attend.
WHAT: Presentation and public input pertaining to Hamilton Crossings Retail Center
WHEN: 6:00 PM, Monday, February 3, 2014
WHERE: Moyer Hall, Muhlenberg College
This project has been quite controversial, mostly because it has been proposed as a TIF. This is a special financing tool in which the increase in real estate taxes that would ordinarily arise from building on raw land, is deferred. That increase can be used to fund development over a period of
I have serious reservations about this project, even though it is supposed to bring a Costco and jobs.
Instead of making taxpayers take a haircut, why not the property owner who is actually selling the real estate to the Goldenberg Group? That just happens to be the Allentown Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church.
For starters, they haven't paid a dime in real estate taxes on the property since it was always intended to be used for future storage of Catholic souls. That property was at one time remote, hard to access and even harder to develop. Just perfect for a cemetery. maybe even a homeless shelter or a shelter for the wayward queers that Vic mazziotti and his pastor despise. That all changed with the Route 222 Bypass, aka The Fred Jaindl Memorial Highway.
Of course, one of the major beneficiaries of the highway - it cost over $200 million to build, I believe - was the Jaindl family. Another beneficiary was the Diocese. Now the property is no longer a parking pad for dead Catholics, but a money maker for our Holy Mother Church. When this deal started to tank, the biggest loser - beyond Goldenberg and his partners - was the Diocese.
Enter Tom Muller, good Catholic, member in good standing at St. Thomas More, and probably a frickin Knight of Columbus for all I know. Is he interested in keeping this deal alive because he wants to help the developers or the Diocese?
Has he been threatened with excommunication?
Has Vic Mazziotti discussed this with his Pastor?
Goldenberg should be able to do this deal without TIF help. All of the prospective leases - Costco, Target and Whole Foods - are very bankable. Perhaps the sale price is too high, or the developer wants too much profit. In either case, whether it is the developer or the Church, taxpayers should not have to pay for someone else's greed.
Update: 2/3/14, 12;11 pm: This event has been postponed. It has been rescheduled for the same time and location, but it will be next Monday, February 10.
(This originally was published on 1/29/14, at 12:00 am.