Boardwalk Hall Starbucks To Offer Outdoor Seating

The new Starbucks set to open at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall will have outdoor seating, according to a license agreement signed last week. It is not clear exactly when the Starbucks cafe will open. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in October agreed to chip in just shy of $600,000 to help refit the space at the entrance to Boardwalk Hall, with Starbucks paying a further $700,000. CRDA is also paying $2 million to rebuild bathrooms in Boardwalk Hall that have been unused for decades, but will presumably be available for Starbucks customers. Route 40 reported last month that attendance at Boardwalk Hall has been declining.

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Taj Mahal Deal Value Means High Reconstruction Costs

Hard Rock International and the Morris and Jingoli families will invest more than $300 million to reopen the shuttered Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, with the bulk of that money spent on reconstruction, according to financial documents. The Hard Rock, Jingoli and Morris team have not disclosed the price they paid to purchase the property, but it is not likely to be more than the $86 million combined valuation for both the Taj and Trump Plaza that their owner reported in a quarterly results statement on Wednesday. The Taj Mahal, opened to big fanfare in 1990 by Donald Trump, closed its doors to a trickle of customers in October, capping the end of a lengthy labor dispute with Local 54 UniteHere. Icahn Enterprises, the holding company of billionaire investor Carl Icahn, reported on Wednesday the value of its investment in the Taj and Trump Plaza fell $32 million to just $86 million at the end of December from September last year. The two properties were valued at $206 million just a few months earlier at the end of June.

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A Real-Life Sustainability Experiment At Stockton

Imagine knowing that when you graduate from college, you have the skills to run your own profitable farming business. All you need to start is a small loan for equipment and a patch of land – as little as an acre would do. It might seem like a fantasy for a lot of today’s undergraduates who feel buried under student loans and job uncertainty. But a project at Stockton University is working toward giving students a real-life, tangible profession. “Land is not hard to get to farm – it’s hard to get to own, but it’s not hard to get to farm,” said Ron Hutchison, an associate professor of sustainability and biology who also helps coordinate Stockton’s Sustainable Farm.”We’d really like to send our students out with a checklist of things that they need: If you can get a loan from the bank for $40,000 and you have access to land, here’s the tools you need, have at it.”

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It’s No Longer the ‘Trump’ Taj Mahal

Trump Taj Mahal

Our touchy president’s name (“Trump”) has been removed from Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal Casino, the Eighth Wonder of the World. The casino has been owned by Carl Icahn, who closed it last fall, out of spite (JK!). But Trump had an agreement to keep his name on the classy property. Apparently that’s changed. Here’s a facade of the Taj as it looked in August 2016.

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A Bistro With Big Ambition

Michael Brennan’s first job out of high school was at Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia. He says he walked into the restaurant at age 18, in an ill-fitting shirt, to find Chef Georges Perrier standing in the door. Perrier hired him on the spot to work front-of-house, probably because restaurant week was coming up and they were about to get slammed. Now 24, Michael’s got his own restaurant, Cardinal Bistro, in Ventnor, but he still seems to have a sense of timing.In the middle of what was supposed to be a “soft opening” this summer, the restaurant critic Craig LaBan wrote a review calling him “one of the young chefs to watch this year at the Shore.” Suddenly, the kitchen was full-throttle.

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Baltimore Grill Sale Close?

The hot chat Saturday night during our bike bar crawl was that the “Wet Willie’s Consortium” is buying the Baltimore Grill—Atlantic City’s iconic, much beloved and completely miraculous spaghetti-and-pizza restaurant—from the Tarsitanos and Riches, who have owned it for decades. The Baltimore Grill is impossible to describe (for me anyway) objectively. It’s like a scene from Mean Streets (this one) has been lifted out of 1973 and carried forward through time to be dropped down across the street from the school where you went to kindergarten. It’s an institution. Wet Willie’s sells slushies spiked with high-octane rum out of big swirly vats, like you see on Spring Break.

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Meet The People Behind #ThisIsAC

If you’ve spent any time on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook lately and you’re in the Atlantic City area, you’ve probably come across the bold red logo or seen the hashtag #ThisIsAC. Maybe, like us, you thought it was some marketing effort by one of our many quasi-governmental overlords in these parts. But you, like us, would be wrong. #ThisIsAC was formed by a few people who just really, really care about Atlantic City. We went to meet them.

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Trampoline Park To Open In Mays Landing This Fall

As a recent transplant to Atlantic County with two kids in tow, it didn’t take long before I could join in with local parents, kids and – even – politicians lamenting how it can sometimes feel like there’s little to do around here when the beach isn’t an option. So imagine me, whiling away an evening reading some planning board minutes, when the name of a business looking for a resolution just jumps out at me: Trampoline Park Consulting. Oh yes, I thought. THAT would make me happier. And my kids happier.

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Where Did Taj Gamblers Go?

When workers from the Trump Taj Mahal went on strike in July, other casinos in Atlantic City had an opportunity to move in on its customers. So where did those gamblers go? Tropicana increased its gaming market share the most, to 13.7 percent in the second half of last year – the period that coincided with the Taj’s strike and closure – compared to 12.5 percent in the second-half 2015. Over that six-month period, Tropicana’s casino revenue increased 13 percent to $190 million from $166 million in the year-earlier July-December period. Much of the muttering on the far end of the boardwalk during the strike centered around suspicion of a plan by Icahn Enterprises, the Taj’s owner, to close the casino in order to boost revenue at Tropicana, Icahn Enterprises’ other property.

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Decade-Long NJ Casino Tax Slump Reverses, Thanks To Online Gaming

Atlantic City casino properties have closed, but the resort city’s biggest industry paid more into state coffers last year as its revenue increased. New Jersey’s tax revenue from the casino industry increased last year, as online gaming helped reverse a 10-year slump in casino taxes. Casinos paid the state $210.4 million in taxes and fees in the last fiscal year (July 2015-June 2016), up slightly from $206 million in the previous 12-month period, according to a Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) report published last month. The tax turnaround is a thin silver lining for New Jersey, which has seen its casino tax revenue eroded by more than two thirds from $500 million in 2006. Signs that Atlantic City’s main industry might be stabilizing after a 10-year freefall will also be scant consolation to the beachside town’s taxpayers, now facing a state takeover of the city’s finances that has already raised homeowners’ taxes after NJ legislators cut casinos a sweetheart property tax deal earlier in the year. Although online gaming is just a fraction of total casino revenue, it helped lead the turnaround for the fiscal year 2016, according to data recorded by the DGE.

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