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Americus Hotel owner trying to get NIZ funding

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 25 2014 04:05:20 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 26 2014 11:05:40 AM CST

Could a much maligned Allentown landmark finally be getting a legitimate lift?

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Restoration has been rough for the once glamorous Americus Hotel at 6th and Hamilton streets in Allentown.

Now, owner Albert Abdouche has gotten a much-needed boost for his downtown Allentown trophy.

"I like it, and it's about time to get the building going," Abdouche said.

A committee of the board of the Neighborhood Improvement Zone, a tax-friendly area that includes the hockey arena and most of the other downtown development you've recently seen, has just given its support to Abdouche, if he can get bank financing of $13 million within the next 120 days to restore the property.

"We're confident enough to make a commitment, but not confident to make it unconditional," said Alan Jennings, head of ANIZDA.

The conditions are that Abdouche, who's owned the hotel since 2008, must hire an experienced hotel management company, use quality building materials and maintain at least a three diamond rating.

In exchange ANIZDA will provide subsidies to cover 80 percent of the cost to restore the building.

Abdouche said he thinks he can get a bank loan in 120 days. Abdouche, who said he's failed to get restoration financing in the past, thinks his fortunes will now change with this show of support from the NIZ.

"Only investment in him if he can get it done and get it done well," Jennings said.

Jennings also pointed out the subsidies can be pulled at any time if Abdouche doesn't meet his end of the bargain, assuming he gets the loan.

"It will hold me back, take more time, but I won't quit," said Abdouche, when asked what it would mean for him and his business if the loan doesn't go through. "I'll keep going to the end."