Monday, February 18, 2008

Historic Holland Mansion

I am happy that the historic Holland Mansion on Fourth St. in Allentown was sold at auction to a man who emigrated here from Poland in 1964. The retired Lucent worker has plans to live in the mansion with his sister. What saddens me is that this well maintained 6,100 square foot mansion sold for only $235,000.00. I bet just the ornate carved woodwork and fancy chandeliers are worth that much or more. Ray Holland was using the mansion to house his extensive art collection. Maybe this man from Poland is an art collector as well. He will certainly have enought wall space to start his own museum.

I guess location really matters in the real estate world. The mansion is located across the street from Lehigh County Prison. According to the Morning Call the "howling of the prisoners in the throes of who-knows-what kind of distress washes over the neighborhood." I guess these distressed prisoners start "howling" when they are not engaged in such recreational activities as playing basketball or lifting weights. The prison has been there for over 100 years and the original prison, which looked like a castle, was actually once a source of local pride.

If the Holland mansion sold for only $235,000.00, then who is going to want to buy a new luxury townhouse in downtown Allentown for over $200,000.00? It just doesn't make sense. Now the Parking Authority has sold two parking lots to the only bidder, developer Nic Zawarski, who has plans to build 47 townhouses with first floor storefronts. I'm just an artist, not a real estate expert, but I think it would make more sense to revitalize or deconvert the already existing buildings with storefronts and housing downtown before building more new townhouses. Shouldn't a downtown try to preserve it's older buildings? I applaud the man who bought the Holland Mansion and I hope he can inspire other people to do the same. Beautiful historic architecture should be preserved.