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 »
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 »
Missing your annual stripper dunk tank fix? Lucky for you, you haven’t entirely missed your chance to buy tickets for this weekend’s Atlantic City Beer & Music Fest where, in addition to hundreds of breweries and live performances by national rock bands, a water tank that invites you to dunk strippers is de rigeur.
Read more »
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!
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Atlantic City has released surveillance footage that shows fire chief Dennis Brooks dropping his pants briefly at the Public Safety Building. However, he says the clip “doesn’t show anything.”
Brooks was placed on leave earlier this month. A week ago, the Press of Atlantic City obtained a letter accusing the chief of dropping his pants. Read more »
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 »
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.
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 »
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 »
Atlantic City Fire Chief Dennis Brooks has been suspended while being investigated for allegedly dropping his pants in front of a female security officer.
The Press of Atlantic City says it obtained a letter from the woman’s lawyer, Sebastian Ionno, describing the incident. Read more »
that Carl Icahn, who is acquiring the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, has struck a deal to keep Donald Trump’s name affixed to the property. Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, had sued to remove “Trump” from the casino’s name
as it slid to near-closure during the last year. Read more »