A Believer Rescues An Atlantic City Apartment Building

Mark Callazzo might just be the walking embodiment of everybody’s favorite car magnet around here. “AC – Don’t Stop Believing” appears to be the unspoken motto of the guy behind The Iron Room bar and restaurant, who is now close to completing the refurbishment of an entire building the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority had been set to demolish. Studio and one- and two-bedroom Apartments at 1 N. Boston Ave will be available in January, Callazzo said when he took us on a tour of the building earlier this month. You can watch our video from the tour below. “I like Atlantic City, I believe in its future,” Callazzo said, as he walked us around the building, which has views of the Atlantic ocean on one side and the bay on the other.

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Downbeach Construction Boom Slows, Shifts Uptown

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy launched a private construction boom that is just starting to fade in the wealthier southernmost towns of Absecon Island, while the slow trickle of FEMA money now starting to come in means more construction and demolition is shifting to the northern end of the island. Certificates of occupancy for new homes are down in Margate and Longport this year through September, while data from state permits show demolition and construction has picked up this year in Ventnor and Atlantic City. You can download – for a small fee – here our full data set showing construction, demolition, certificates of occupancy and residential additions in Ventnor, Margate and Longport since 2010. !function(e,t,n,s){var i=”InfogramEmbeds”,o=e.getElementsByTagName(t),d=o[0],a=/^http:/.test(e.location)?”http:”:”https:”;if(/^\/{2}/.test(s)&&(s=a+s),window[i]&&window[i].initialized)window[i].process&&window[i].process();else if(!e.getElementById(n)){var r=e.createElement(t);r.async=1,r.id=n,r.src=s,d.parentNode.insertBefore(r,d)}}(document,”script”,”infogram-async”,”//e.infogr.am/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js”);
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Ventnor has seen an unprecedented spate of new construction in the last 18 months, while new certificates of occupancy have slipped in Margate and Longport since last year. Jimmie Agnesino, construction code official in Ventnor, said the pickup in construction in the town is mostly due to the fact that FEMA money is now starting to reach homeowners.

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Atlantic City Demolitions Climb, Reach Highest Since Financial Crisis

Atlantic City has demolished 79 housing units this year through September, more than double the rate of demolition in any year since the financial crisis. Public agencies tore down the most buildings, but state data show there have also been some private demolitions, which could indicate more construction will be starting in the city. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) has demolished more than half of the units as part of its ongoing city-wide demolition project. Another chunk of the units were demolished by the Atlantic County Improvement Authority (ACIA), through an agreement with the city to clear abandoned buildings. The number of units demolished by the public agencies, however, is below the total number of units demolished year to date, which suggests there has also been some private demolition work.

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Atlantic City’s First Legal Distillery Nears Opening

Atlantic City will soon boast its first ever legal distillery, thanks to brothers Eric and Mark Ganter. The Little Water Distillery may not be the first to ever produce spirits in the city, but it will be the first to do so with federal and state licenses. The distillery, which began life as a family daydream after Eric and Mark’s dad received a still for his birthday in 2013, will launch an American whisky dubbed WHITECAP around December 15, just in time for those of us who failed to do all our holiday shopping this past weekend. The whisky is the result of a collaboration with a distillery in the Appalachian mountains that the Ganter brothers struck up a friendship with during their multi-year process to launch their Atlantic City site. The name is a play on the white caps of the mountains and the Atlantic ocean, Eric Ganter explained.

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Closure Slashes Value of Trump Taj Mahal

The value of the Trump Taj Mahal almost halved after closing, according to the latest financial statement from its owner Icahn Enterprises. The casino, which was opened to big fanfare in 1990 by Donald Trump, finally closed its doors to a trickle of customers in October, capping the end of a lengthy labor dispute with Local 54 UniteHere. The holding company of billionaire businessman Carl Icahn recorded a charge of $92 million for closing the Taj Mahal, according to the company’s Thursday third-quarter report. The same statement shows that Trump Entertainment, the unit that owns the Trump Taj Mahal and the similarly shuttered Trump Plaza casino, is now valued at $118 million, down from $208 million at the end of the second quarter. The future of the two sites is not clear.

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Princeton Antiques Book Shop Is An Atlantic City Treasure

You’ve probably driven or walked by Princeton Antiques Book Shop on Atlantic Ave in Atlantic City. It’s a tall, colorful and eye-catching building with hundreds of books in cases outside. Maybe you’ve even thought about going inside. Apparently, a smattering of locals each week stop in to tell owner Robert Ruffolo just that – that they’ve always wondered what it looks like inside. It is an above-ground catacomb lined with books.

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Atlantic County Needs More Family Activities – Dr Miller

Atlantic City and the surrounding area needs more places and activities for families, according to chiropractor Dr Thomas Miller. The local economy surrounding the resort town has been more stable since casinos brought year-round jobs, but cinemas, bowling alleys and other places for family entertainment disappeared when the casinos arrived, Dr Miller told us in a wide-ranging interview that is part of our series of local business profiles. “If they had places like they did years ago where people could go to a movie, it would be nice,” said Dr Miller, noting that in the summer many potential visitors drive by Atlantic City to stop in Ocean City or Wildwood. “There’s nothing here for people to do,” if they don’t want to gamble, he said. Pleasantville, which has seen its reputation marred by poverty and crime in recent years, is a good spot for business, according to Dr Miller, who has owned his own practice and office in Pleasantville for more than a decade.

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Lights out at the Taj Mahal

The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort is officially closed, but the slot machines are still blinking inside. They spin and whir insolently, kind of the way my laptop takes its sweet time powering down after I’ve slammed the lid shut. I don’t know what you call this stage in the life cycle of a defunct megaresort–a liminal phase maybe–but this is the way a casino dies, apparently, in the small hours of an unseasonably cold Monday morning in early October. The Taj, the alleged Eighth Wonder of the World, and one of the many saviors of Atlantic City foretold by the prophets, passed into oblivion at age 26. It had been in poor health for some time.

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Search For Atlantic County Business Leader Turns Up Empty

Atlantic County has failed to hire a director for a planned million-dollar development corporation, a setback for a wider plan to steer the sluggish regional economy away from an unhealthy dependence on low-wage casino industry jobs. Even after a substantial search this spring and summer, no candidates from outside South Jersey could be drawn in to run the development corp. Instead, Max Slusher, the Atlantic County Improvement Authority’s (ACIA) economic development head, will perform double duty in the role for an interim period, the county’s chief of staff Howard Kyle said in an interview Monday. Although the non-profit development corporation, which should have about $1.2 million when it is fully funded, found candidates for the executive director gig, one turned it down for a better-paid alternative, and another withdrew, apparently because they couldn’t quite be persuaded to move to Atlantic County, Kyle said. Low local salaries and difficulties attracting workers to the county were both issues that were highlighted in a report by Austin, Texas-based consultants Angelou Economics that was commissioned by the ACIA and published a year ago.

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