CRDA, CRDA, CRDA – Wednesday’s Roundup

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Needle Exchange
The needle exchange on Tennessee Avenue will be under discussion tonight in the City of Atlantic City Council meeting.

We’re not anti-needle exchanges. We were anti-needles on the street. Anecdotally, and per the state’s Department of Health stats, they’re doing a better job collecting them. They don’t do a super hot job getting people into treatment.

Anyhoo.

It’s a little unclear what tonight’s vote even means. Also, we wonder, how did the needle exchange start operating in a business district in the first place?

Elsewhere in Moving People Out the Way
Charlie Birnbaum, the world’s most famous piano tuner, whose house in the Inlet CRDA wants to tear down, is back in the news as arguments are set to be made in front of appellate judges in Jersey City, per this story in NJ.com.

“Why is it that when you think about beautifying that the first people you want to get rid of are those who paid their dues,” Birnbaum told the same paper in 2015. Well, not the first people, but we hear you.

To be honest, I came for the CRDA news but stayed for Robert McNamara, Birnbaum’s attorney.

“The most striking thing is this case is the CRDA’s plan for this land,” McNamara stated. “Their plan is to take Charlie Birnbaum’s family home, knock it down and then think really hard about what they might want to put there instead. If there are going to be any limits on eminent domain, one of those limits has to be that you have to do the thinking part first.”

Showboat Apartments
Amy Rosenberg reports that Bart Blartstein wants to convert one of the Showboat towers to apartments, citing his application before the land use department at the, wait for it, CRDA last Thursday. The new apartments would be very close to the other new apartments at the Boraie project.

This is fun and all but the Blatstein-owned Pier is depressing as hell. Granted it’s always been kind of depressing. And Showboat is like the Shining. (But with dogs – ed).

Blatstein added a 14,000-square-foot fitness center to Showboat, reportedly, and also plans a co-working space.

Wait, is he talking about the eliptical machines in front of the elevator bank? I hope that’s not the fitness center. Seems like a stretch.

Also, just a reminder that Blatstein’s Pier Renaissance hired Optimus Partners (Philip Norcross’ firm) to lobby CRDA on his behalf. Optimus execs have also helped Blatstein with recent advisory consultations to the NJEDA and the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. What is Blatstein up to? That’s another article.

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