Bart Blatstein To Present Pier Shops Plans Wednesday

Pier Shops escalator

The late Mitch Hedberg would not be happy with this sign. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

As we reported on Tuesday, Bart Blatstein has settled his legal dispute with Caesars and his plan for the Pier Shops is back on.

Blatstein’s press person sent out a release this morning with details on his announcement for the Pier Shops at Caesars. Blatstein has grand plans for the mall, so the all-caps subject line was warranted: “BART BLATSTEIN TO UNVEIL DRAMATIC REDEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR THE PIER AT CAESAR’S – MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1st AT 12 NOON IN ATLANTIC CITY.” Read more »

5 Charts That Show Just How Screwed Atlantic City Is

Atlantic City winter beach

Atlantic City in February 2015 (Photo | Dan McQuade)

On Tuesday, Atlantic City’s Chris Christie-appointed emergency management team released its first report. The results were grim.

“The acute financial distress facing the City is imminent and the causes of such distress are not transitory,” emergency manager Kevin Lavin wrote in the report. “Absent an urgent, material realignment of revenues and expenses, this crisis will rapidly deepen and will threaten the City’s ability to deliver and maintain essential government services impacting the health, safety and welfare of its residents.” Christie’s executive order required Lavin and consultant Kevyn Orr, who handled Detroit’s bankruptcy, to issue a report within 60 days.

“It’s actually a lot more severe than we thought when we started 60 days ago,” Lavin said, though he and Orr said bankruptcy was not being considered. Atlantic City has a $101 million city budget shortfall and a $47 million deficit in the school district. The managers recommended $10 million in city cuts, including hundreds of layoffs, and appointing mediators to work with casinos and unions.

New Jersey State Senate president Steve Sweeney lambasted the report: “This report does nothing more than dramatize the fiscal crisis in Atlantic City … Today’s report was 60 days in the making and it reached the same conclusions that we did in November: that decisive action is needed to stabilize Atlantic City’s finances, reduce expenses, protect local taxpayers and reposition the casino industry for future growth.” Sweeney has proposed his own plan that includes a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program for the casinos.

Sweeney is right: The report does dramatize Atlantic City’s fiscal crisis. You can read it at the end of this post. But since it’s essentially just a stop-gap report — another one is due in 90 days — let’s take a look at some of its charts that illustrate the bad shape A.C. is in. Read more »

Bart Blatstein’s A.C. Pier Shops Plan Appears to Be Back On

Third Floor of the Pier Shops

The third floor of the Pier Shops in late summer 2014. The sand has since been removed. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Bart Blatstein appears to have resolved his dispute with Caesars over the Pier Shops in Atlantic City.

Today, a spokesman confirmed to Philadelphia magazine that Blatstein will hold a press conference next month at the Pier Shops. This morning, the Press of Atlantic City reported Blatstein met with tenants at the shops and told them things with Caesars were being settled. The press conference is set for noon on April 1st. Read more »

Morning Headlines: Plans Still Unclear for Temple University’s Burk Mansion

Burk Mansion | Google Street View, Sept. 2014

Burk Mansion | Google Street View, Sept. 2014

Could Temple University replace one of the last mansions on North Broad Street with a full-service hotel called The Nest? Hidden City’s Bradley Maule reports that, while plans for the Victorian Italian Renaissance home at Broad and Jefferson at still unclear, the university has no intention of demolishing the building. In fact, it’s quite the opposite:

[Temple University architect Margaret] Carney also indicates that while the mansion is empty, it’s not uncared for. “We’ve invested over a million dollars just to stabilize the roof,” Carney says. “We’ve worked closely with the Historical Commission,” she says, referencing new lights, heating, and ventilation that have also been installed, along with improved landscaping along Broad Street and historically sensitive lanterns on their way.

That’s good news, considering the mansion dating back to 1909 wasn’t listed in Temple’s sweeping master plan, which includes, among other things, an innovative library designed by Snøhetta. Also, as Maule notes, Temple is kind of in the middle of a demolition-driven renaissance, with no less than four university-owned buildings slated to be razed.

Carney said Temple “did not commission” the designs for The Nest and is still searching for the best use for the mansion.

More headlines this way!

Read more »

Here Are Renderings of the Newest Proposals for Atlantic City

Atlantic City concept plans

Maser Consulting’s concept plans for Gardner’s Basin (left) and Bader Field

Seven years ago, a buyer offered $900 million for Bader Field. But Atlantic City said no to the deal for the former airport.

It’s now worth about $150 million. When it was for sale in 2009, it attracted no bids. It is now best known not as the first place to be called an airport, but for its empty baseball stadium and music festivals. And now, this: Yesterday, city-hired consultants unveiled concept proposals for Bader Field.

Maser Consulting, which was paid by a Hurricane Sandy recovery grant, also unveiled concepts for Gardner’s Basin. The city-owned plot in the Northeast Inlet is a quaint area with the feel of a smaller shore town. It’s also the site of the the Atlantic City aquarium. Read more »

My First Big Gay Atlantic City Weekend

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

This weekend was not only my first big gay weekend at the Borgata Hotel & Casino, it was my first time going to Atlantic City, period.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 3.17.21 PM

Our carload on the way to Atlantic City. I’m the one in the back with the dark beard.

A group of us from G Philly—and other queer folks from up and down the East Coast—were invited down to stay two nights at the Borgata (you can’t miss its shimmering gold towers as you enter Atlantic City) for the hotel and casino’s first OUT at Borgata weekend. This was the kickoff event for their new initiative to lure down queer folks to AC with parties and entertainment catering to the LGBT crowd. For the opener they invited ’90s songstress Sarah McClachlan and comedian Kathy Griffin.

But the entertainment’s only a fraction of the draw to the Borgata. Once you’re there, you’re in a city all its own, full of top-notch restaurants, a luxurious spa, and shopping if you’re not in the mood to Jitney over to the nearby Tanger Outlets (which is worth a trip if you have the time).

Read more »

Judge Declines to Approve Sale of Revel to Glenn Straub

A shuttered Revel in November 2014 (Photo: Dan McQuade)

A shuttered Revel in November 2014 (Photo: Dan McQuade)

You’re not going to believe this.

No, wait, you probably will. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gloria M. Burns today did not approve the sale of the failed Revel casino to Glenn Straub. The hold-up is a pending appeal by several clubs and restaurants inside Revel that opposed Straub’s purchase of Revel. Burns stayed that sale in January.

Here’s where things get complicated: That sale is actually dead. Straub didn’t complete it. But Revel and Straub then struck a deal for Revel at a lower price. Still, per the Inquirer, the previous ruling means Burns doesn’t have jurisdiction to approve the new sale.

But wait, there’s more. Read more »

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