Headlines: Developers to the State, You Know What’s Cool? A Billion Dollars

We just love highlighting all the big-time developments in this city. Hell, we devoted almost an entire issue to the “New Boom” back in March. But how do projects like the W Hotel, East Market The Gallery, the SLS International Hotel & Residences and even the Divine Lorraine get funded? A decent amount of it oftentimes comes from matching funds from the state in the form of Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP). In fact, Joe DiStefano of The Inquirer reports that “developers, corporations, colleges, hospitals and towns” have requested over $1 billion in funds from the state. Last year, Gov. Tom Corbett saw $1.1 billion in requests, but only “funded $207 million of projects.”

Philly alone at 66 requests, some goodies from this year include:

Highlights from the ‘burbs include:

DiStefano reports that Gov. Tom Wolf is actually seeking more requests for RACP funding. Check out the full list at the link below.

Developers ask Penna. for $1 billion+ [The Inquirer]

More Headlines For Your Enjoyment!

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Morning Headlines: Can Big Plans Really Save Atlantic City?

Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on June 5, 2013. The Revel opened on April 1, 2012 at a cost of 2.4 Billion dollars. Photo | Shutterstock.com

Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on June 5, 2013. The Revel opened on April 1, 2012 at a cost of 2.4 Billion dollars. Photo | Shutterstock.com

Man, it seems like every week we’re hearing about the latest game-changing plan for Atlantic City. First, it was Bart Blatstein, who recently settled his dispute with Caesar’s and announced plans for a mega-entertainment complex called The Playground. Dan McQuade reports that Glenn Straub finally (mercifully?) closed the deal to buy the beleaguered Revel Casino property for $82 million. Talk about buy low. Blatstein bought the $200 million Pier Shops for just over $2 million and now Straub nabs what was originally a $2.4 billion project for what amount to chump change in his line of business.

That’s apparently only the beginning for Straub, who plans to invest another $500 million into the home of Boardwalk Empire through a vision he’s calling The Phoenix Project. That plan includes (among other things) building Revel’s second tower and possibly an “extreme sports complex,” an air field for flying in high rollers and marinas for yachts. Jeez, and here we thought getting a huge ferris wheel at Steel Pier was a big deal for the city.

Buy low, aim high doesn’t only apply to those with access to millions of dollars. Take a casual stroll on Zillow and you, the homeowner looking for a beach house, can find yourself a great deal on beachfront property. Looking for a long play to get down the shore? Atlantic City may just be your best bet.

Fun (and Food) With Urban Gardening:

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Can Bart Blatstein Really Kickstart Atlantic City?

Starbucks bathroom, Atlantic City

The most wonderful bathroom view in the world, at a Starbucks in Atlantic City. (Photo | Dan McQuade)

After Bart Blatstein unveiled his plans for the Pier at Caesars in Atlantic City yesterday, I went to the Starbucks to file a story. The Inquirer’s Amy Rosenberg calls it the “nicest Starbucks on the planet,” and it might be. It’s a Starbucks that’s literally on the beach. There are incredible views of the ocean, beach and Atlantic City boardwalk.

Then I went into the bathroom. It was more of the same! The tiny, one-toilet bathroom at the pier has an even better view of the ocean than the actual Starbucks. And yet, here it is, an amazing view completely hidden in the mall.

The weirdest thing about the Pier Shops at Caesars — the pier that will soon become Blatstein’s new Playground development — is that it’s so inward-facing. Sure, it’s a mall — but it’s a mall that overlooks the ocean and aside from the back of the pier and one side of the third floor — and that Starbucks — the pier doesn’t look out onto the ocean. “I’ve never seen a pier like this anywhere in the country,” Blatstein said. He promised to install more windows in the pier, offering gorgeous views overlooking the city.

Windows are a good start. But can Bart Blatstein really kickstart Atlantic City? Read more »

Blatstein Unveils Atlantic City Pier Plans: “This Place Won’t Fail”

The Playground - Outside

Image Courtesy Steelman Partners and Tower Investments

Saying he would make Atlantic City the “the capital of entertainment on the East Coast,” Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein unveiled his dramatic redevelopment for the Pier Shops at Caesars today. The pier, which Blatstein’s Tower Investments is developing along with casino architect Paul Steelman’s firm, has been rechristened The Playground.

“I promise you, this will become the number one tourist attraction in Atlantic City,” Blatstein said yesterday at a dog-and-pony show at the pier. “I guarantee it.” Later, he doubled down on the pier’s success: “It’s a symbol of what Atlantic City is going to become… With Paul here by my side, this place can’t fail. It won’t fail. I don’t want to want it to sound oysters here, but I have never failed in my career. I have never not picked an area that has not turned around. This is going to be the greatest success of my career.” Read more »

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 »

Morning Headlines: SEPTA Talks Makeover at 15th Street Station

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 8.27.09 AM

SEPTA news has been coming in fast and furious these past few weeks. You may remember that our super-cool sister blog Citified brought you the news that they’re looking at bringing sexy new trolleys with easier access into the fold. SEPTA’s director of strategic planning and analysis, Byron Comati, called it a “once in a generation type move.” Now, Sandy Smith reports that SEPTA has unveiled the designs of the overhaul at 15th Street Station.

Unfortunately, the work won’t take place until after the “Democrats decamp” next summer, but, rest assured, this is a major project for the city. The work will be done in phases and, due to the complexity of the efforts at City Hall Station, crews will redo 15th Street Station first:

The engineering to be done there is simpler, consisting mainly of inserting five elevator shafts: two from the west side of the 15th and Market streets intersection to the station mezzanine and one from the mezzanine to each of the Market-Frankford Line platforms and the eastbound trolley platform at 15th Street.

For more info about the “daunting” task crews have at City Hall Station, check out Smith’s piece in our News section.

• SEPTA Unveils Renderings of 15th Street Station Renovations [Philly Mag News]

More amazing headlines this way…

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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 »

Bart Blatstein: I Never Made Threats About Pier Shops

Tower signage at the Pier Shops earlier this month (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Tower signage at the Pier Shops earlier this month (Photo | Dan McQuade)

Yesterday was supposed to be the big unveiling of Bart Blatstein’s plans for The Pier Shops at Caesars, the half-empty mall over the ocean in Atlantic City. But it was abruptly called off late last week after Caesars filed a lawsuit accusing Blatstein “of having taken over the Pier’s lease from [a] third company illegally and without Caesars’ consent.”

Blatstein responded in court Monday to accusations in that lawsuit from Caesars Atlantic City president Kevin Ortzman, which included: Read more »

Suit: Tower Investments Operating “Illegally as Trespassers” at the Pier

pier-shops

Well, we now know why Tower Investments abruptly canceled Tuesday’s upcoming press conference regarding the redevelopment of the Pier at Caesar’s. While the press release stated it was “Due to unforeseen developments beyond Tower Investments’ control,” the Press of Atlantic City is reporting it’s due to a suit filed in Atlantic County Superior Court by Kevin Ortzman, president of Caesar’s and Bally’s Atlantic City, that alleges Blatstein and crew operated “illegally as trespassers” at the pier.

Here’s more: Read more »

Blatstein Won’t Be Unveiling Plans for The Pier at Caesar’s

pier-shops

We’ve got some late breaking news for your Friday commute. Bart Blatstein was supposed to announce the redevelopment plans for The Pier at Caesar’s at a press conference on February 24 at the pier. It looks as though plans have significantly changed. Tower Investments just sent out a press release stating the redevelopment announcement has been cancelled, citing “unforeseen developments beyond Tower Investments’ control.” Here it is in full: Read more »

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