Allentown Authorizes Eminent Domain for Downtown Businesses

The City of Allentown, Pennsylvania has announced they would prefer a hockey area for the Phantoms in downtown Allentown, rather than the clothing store, beauty salon, pizza parlor, and dozens of other businesses already there.

Sam Hong has owned New York Fashions on Tenth Street for over two decades.

“‘I pay taxes, wages, whatever they ask to the city. Now they tell me I don’t need you anymore. I got a greater plan and I am not in that picture,’” he said upon hearing Mayor Ed Pawlowski’s announcement that the city wants to seize his business to make way for the arena.[1] 

Patrice Sidoione has owned “All That” beauty salon on Eighth Street for 14 years. She has stated she is not willing to sell the business she has worked so hard to own, since the city would also be “…taking away my ability to earn a living.”[2] 

The city council authorized the use of eminent domain to seize the businesses in 6-1 vote on May 18, 2011.[3]  The mayor said the city would prefer to negotiate with the business owners before using eminent domain, but the city needs this important “tool” to compel the business owners to sell.[4]   

However, as hundreds of business owners across the nation know, there can be no true negotiations when the city holds the ultimate trump card.




[1] Will Lewis, “City Wants to Put Arena Downtown; Some Business Owners Unhappy,” WFMZ-TV 69 News, May 17, 2011.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Sarah Satullo, “Allentown council authorizes use of eminent domain for hockey arena if needed,” The Express-Times, May 19, 2011.

[4] Nick Falsone, “Allentown pursues negotiations, considers eminent domain where hockey arena is planned – Update,” The Express Times, May 18, 2011.