Casino Closings Wipe $2 Billion From Atlantic City Property-Tax Values

English: Picture of the Tropicana from the Boa...

English: Picture of the Tropicana from the Boardwalk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The closure of three Atlantic City casinos by mid-September will wipe $2 billion from the city’s property-tax values next year, exacerbating the already cash-strapped city’s financial plight, Mayor Don Guardian warned Tuesday.

By 2017, Guardian said on a conference call to discuss Atlantic City’s way forward as a tourism center following the rout of its casino industry, property values are expected to have fallen to as little as $7.5 billion from $20 billion five years ago.

In the short term, Guardian said the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs has made money “available for some bridge loans to make sure that the city continues functioning with this year’s budget because of any concern that we might have that a casino’s closing, going bankrupt might hold off payments.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140827_Casino_closings_wipe__2B_from_Atlantic_City_property-tax_values.html#9bAf73M2kyMlu0jB.99

Plans For Two Hotels At 15th & Chestnut Taking Shape

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next week, developers will present their designs for the W and Element Hotels planned for 15th and Chestnut streets to the Center City Residents Association. The presentation is for information only: The planned project requires no zoning variances and can be built by right.

According to a description shared with PlanPhilly by an attorney working on the project, the hotels will have a total of 755 rooms. There will be 295 rooms in the four-star W Hotel, and 460 rooms in the three-star, extended-stay Element by Westin. The entire hotel operation will be managed by Starwood, a Connecticut-based hospitality company.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/Plans_for_two_hotels_at_15th_and_Chestnut_taking_shape.html#P5wsWYOKxqO3JmVS.99

PLCB’s Biggest Store Opening In Shadyside Neighborhood

Locator map with the Shadyside neighborhood in...

Locator map with the Shadyside neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania’s largest wine and spirits store, a 17,000-square-foot mega-outlet, will officially debut today in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood.

The renovated store, built around an existing state store at 5956 Penn Circle South, has been enlarged by about 35 percent, LCB officials said.

The larger, more upscale store is opening in an area experiencing residential, retail and restaurant growth for several years.

With that upswing continuing, LCB officials have pinned their hopes on history repeating itself with the renovated space. The agency has seen sales typically increase about 20 percent to 35 percent at revamped stores, in part because the layout and organization of products encourages shoppers to browse longer, according to officials.

Read more: http://triblive.com/state/pennsylvania/6642390-74/store-lcb-stores#ixzz3B2vjsvkw
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Prayers For Atlantic City As Closings, Layoffs Loom

English: Atlantic City (NJ) - The boardwalk in...

English: Atlantic City (NJ) – The boardwalk in a rainy day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY – Members of the clergy locked arms as they led a march of about 400 Unite Here Local 54 members in “a prayer vigil for Atlantic City’s service economy” on Wednesday night.

“This is union territory,” the casino workers chanted as they marched along New Jersey Avenue amid car horns honking in support. Many held signs, including Linda Bragg, 56, of Atlantic City, who works at Bally’s. Hers read: “Atlantic City – Broken Promises.”

“We don’t want to be a forgotten town,” she said. “I grew up with all these people. We made millions for the state. It’s really heart-wrenching. A mess.”

The march, on the eve of three planned casino closures, started between the Revel and Showboat casino hotels on the Boardwalk at 6:30 and ended more than an hour later at New Shiloh Baptist Church on Atlantic Avenue. Several pastors and bishops held a prayer service in support of the employees, many of whom are members of their churches.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140821_Prayers_for_Atlantic_City_as_closings__layoffs_loom.html#OST66wvzBszPrqpJ.99

Downtown First Awards – York PA

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  We like how they roll in York.  Their Downtown Inc. organization has been doing some awesome things and downtown York is becoming a destination again.   Color us impressed.

The Downtown First Awards recognize businesses, organizations, and individuals who put downtown York first through their commitments of time, advocacy and resources.

See the list of  nominees: http://downtownyorkpa.com/downtownfirstawards/

George Takei Has A Bone To Pick With Wawa

Math: It’s hard, especially if you’re a convenience store like, say, Wawa. But don’t worry—best friend to the Internet, George Takei, is here to clear everything up.

Takei recently posted up an image of none other than a Wawa coffee cup to his massively popular Facebook page (7.4 million likes and counting) with a few sections underlined.

Yes, because math, indeed. Takei apparently took this perceived error to heart, calling the labels “rather misleading.” As you can imagine, the comments section of the post has gone into full-fervor mode, with Wawa’s endless line of zealots (AKA us) kindly—and not so kindly—explaining why, in fact, Wawa is never wrong. Like, ever.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/trending/George-Takei-has-a-bone-to-pick-with-Wawa.html#1PywPH7AR3VUCEkQ.99

Results Released On Wilkes-Barre Downtown Survey

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE — Thursday seemed like the best possible day to release a report on a downtown survey.
 
Public Square was filled with people attending the weekly farmers’ market and Mother Nature cooperated by offering a spectacular day of sunshine.
 
Patty Kopec and her daughter, Frankie, were enjoying some of the food and sunshine. Even with no entertainment on the band shell stage, the Kopecs raved about the city and the downtown and said they wished more events were planned for Public Square.
 
“It needs this kind of stuff,” Patty Kopec said. “It needs more events that appeal to families.”

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/50098707/Results-released-on-downtown-survey%23.U-P3K8JH2i4#.U-T5m_RDsxI

The 9 Unhealthiest Restaurant Meals In America

The Center for Science in the Public Interest just released its annual Xtreme Eating List, calling out the 9 unhealthiest restaurant dishes across the country.

While many restaurants made the cut, The Cheesecake Factory had the dubious distinction of nabbing three spots.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/food/20140801_Parade_The_9_Unhealthiest_Restaurant_Meals_in_America.html#A1e4KE2P8aBtPrQY.99

McCandless OKs Land Development Plan For Potential Wal-Mart

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

McCandless gave an assist to Wal-Mart in its plan to build a store by speeding through the approval process, two attorneys said during a contentious council meeting Monday night.

“I wouldn’t be standing here if this wasn’t the most egregious consideration of a big box in my more than 32 years of experience,” said William Sittig, an attorney representing O’Hara-based Giant Eagle Inc.

The town council voted 5-2, with Cynthia Potter and Gerard Aufman Jr. against, to approve Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s subdivision application for a store in a Blazier Drive shopping center between Blazier’s intersections with Ingomar and McKnight roads. The council also voted 4-3, with Potter, Aufman and William McKim against, to approve a land development plan.

Wal-Mart plans to demolish two commercial buildings on Blazier Drive and replace them with a 150,000-square-foot supercenter that will include a grocery store, auto center and drive-through pharmacy.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6462288-74/mart-wal-council#ixzz38ruqXvcW
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Pottstown’s Juan Carlos Restaurant Leading The Way In PHL17 ‘Hot List’ Competition

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN – Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine has been holding a steady lead in the online phl17 Hot List competition for two weeks, displacing a bigger corporate restaurant along the way,

The phl17 Hot List is in its eighth year and features 164 categories of hot spots to go in the area – everything from arts and entertainment, to fitness and restaurants.

It’s in this last category that Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine is making its stand; currently in first place for “Best Mexican Restaurant” and second place for “Best BYOB Restaurant.”

“The first day I was number one in both categories. I was shocked but pleasantly surprised,” chef/owner Ron R. Garza said in an interview with The Mercury. “Then I look two weeks later and we’re still solid.”

Read more: http://business-news.thestreet.com/the-mercury/story/pottstowns-juan-carlos-restaurant-leading-the-way-phl17-hot-list-competition/1?utm_source=ubnreadmore&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=ubnreadmore

Amazon.Com Distribution Center Planned For Pittsburgh’s West End

Locator map with the Fairywood neighborhood in...

Locator map with the Fairywood neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amazon.com is coming to Pittsburgh.

The Seattle-based Internet giant has leased 250,000 square feet — equivalent to 4.3 football fields — in the former Roomful Express warehouse at 2250 Roswell Drive in the Fairywood section of the West End where it will establish a “sort center” that can deliver items within 24 hours of purchase.

The site is part of a new Amazon network of “sort centers,” where customer orders will be sorted by final destination and consolidated onto trucks for faster delivery, said Nina Lindsey, an Amazon spokeswoman. Amazon expects to increase its sort centers from 8 to more than 15 by the end of the year.

Pittsburgh’s sort center will serve the immediate area and nearby regions, she said, though she declined to specify the areas.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6499265-74/amazon-sort-center#ixzz38VZOOh6W
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New Solar-Powered Car-Charging Stations Unveiled In Robinson

The Mall at Robinson

The Mall at Robinson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  When we were on assignment in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, we stayed across the street from the Mall at Robinson and walked right by these very charging stations.  Should have taken a picture….drat!  Oh well, hindsight is 20/20 but if you read the whole article the Post Gazette took a nice picture for your viewing pleasure.

In the parking lot outside the food court at the Mall at Robinson, a silver Chevy Volt sat in a space painted with a green and white electric vehicle decal, waiting for a jolt. Inside, representatives from Eaton and Wesco gathered by a gray kiosk that monitors the amount of energy being generated by the new 8 kilowatt solar panels on top of the mall.

By 11 a.m. the panels had generated 4.11 kw of energy, enough to power 46 laptops. They also generated enough power to give an electric car a full charge in two hours. That’s a perk for hybrid drivers because the mall’s newest car charging stations are connected to the panels.

The charging stations were officially unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, but they have been operational since June. Beth Edwards, the mall’s general manager, said she has been surprised by the response.

“I’ve seen several cars using it. We actually had a mall walker who went out and bought an electric car so they could charge it when they’re walking in the mall,” she said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/07/25/Mall-at-Robinson-unveils-new-solar-powered-car-charging-stations/stories/201407250036#ixzz38VRlqzoC

Big Spring Distillery Soft Opening Helps Prepare For Grander Version In Bellefonte

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  The distillery movement is really starting to take off in Pennsylvania.  I keep running across these popping up around our great state.

Vana Dainty sat down with Kevin Lloyd to help him coordinate the final details of the grand opening for his Bellefonte distillery in two weeks.

Dainty, the borough’s Keystone Community development coordinator, said the Match Factory distillery, named Big Spring Spirits, will be good for the borough.

“Kevin has been a delight to work with, and this should really be a great part of Bellefonte that brings in new tourists and a part of the turning point for our economy,” Dainty said. “It’s different than anything else in Centre County.”

Lloyd said he has seen the value of a helping hand not only from Dainty, but from dozens of others as he opens his new business.

Weis To Open Its First Beer Cafe In York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jennie Conboy is looking forward to the day when she can buy groceries and beer at the same time.

“It can’t come soon enough,” said the loyal Weis shopper from West York.

Her grocery store of choice is at 1800 Roosevelt Ave. in West Manchester Township, and that Weis location is soon adding a beer cafe.

Weis hopes to begin construction on the beer cafe in the coming weeks, according to company spokesman Dennis Curtin.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_26215034/weis-open-its-first-beer-cafe-york-county

New Boutique Launches On West Philadelphia Street In Downtown York

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  We like this story because of the entrepreneurial spirit demonstrated by the owner and the fact that downtown York is pulling itself up by the bootstraps, one new business at a time.

The summer after earning a college degree, most newly minted grads spend their time getting ready to head off to graduate school or hunting for a job.

Not Zarah Brooks.

Two months after graduating from York College in May with a public relations degree, the 23-year-old Manchester Township resident opened her own business – a women’s clothing boutique in downtown York.

With its wood floors, loose-fitting, bohemian clothes and industrial feel — the dresses and tops hang from metal pipes affixed to the walls — Indigo Bleu could be just at home in New York’s Soho district as it is on York’s increasingly hip West Philadelphia Street.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_26189406/new-boutique-launches-west-philadelphia-street

Arby’s Closings Leave Employees Jobless

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ashley Douglas was depending on her next paycheck from her job at Arby’s to catch up with her rent.

But the single mother of three children will have to find another way to pay her bills. Douglas, 29, of Wilkes-Barre, who worked at the Wyoming Valley Mall Arby’s, was among dozens of employees at six Arby’s restaurants in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania who lost their jobs when the businesses closed on Friday.

That was the same day the franchise owner’s Chapter 7 liquidation was approved in federal court.

“That was the only job I was working at for right now,” said Douglas, who is separated and raising her children, ages 7, 4 and 3. “I’m depending on that. I’m trying to find something else. I still owe my landlord the rest of the rent for this month … If I don’t get something to pay for my rent, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/302844/Arbys-closings-leave-employees-jobless

If 4 Atlantic City Casinos Close In September, Then What?

English: Atlantic City (NJ) - The boardwalk in...

English: Atlantic City (NJ) – The boardwalk in a rainy day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – This resort faces the prospect of having four major vacancies on its famed Boardwalk come mid-September.

The grim reality sank in July 14 when Trump Plaza issued layoff notices and targeted Sept. 16 as the date to cease operating as a casino.

Perception is reality in tourism, experts say, and the Boardwalk is synonymous with Atlantic City. How will four hulking, empty buildings sit with visitors – especially at night – and will they impede tourism when Atlantic City needs it the most?

“When an area goes dark, and there are increased vacancies, it generally sends out more than a subtle message that things are not promising on the horizon,” said Don Moliver, dean of the Leon Hess Business School at Monmouth University.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140722_Atlantic_City_lights_dimmer_in_September.html#LRbj1JvhlyPXrwkJ.99

Largest Target On East Coast Set To Open In Upper Merion

Location of Upper Merion Township in Montgomer...

Location of Upper Merion Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UPPER MERION TOWNSHIP, PA — King of Prussia’s fire and police departments are prepared for action when the largest Target store on the East coast opens its doors in one of the busiest shopping areas in the Philadelphia area on Sunday.

Ever since the August 2013 announcement of the planned opening, township police and fire personnel have been working continuously with store officials to address all issues of safety and security.

The store, located at 160 West DeKalb Pike in the Valley Forge Shopping Center, will occupy approximately 165,000 square feet of floor area and will provide 800 parking spaces, half of which will be underground.

“When any retail establishment opens in Upper Merion Township, we set up a working relationship with them,” said Lt. Michael Martin, Upper Merion Police Department’s investigation division commander. “We have meetings with the management team and store employees so our officers become familiar with store security, how they operate and what our responsibilities are when a crime arises”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140721/target-set-to-open-in-upper-merion-police-fire-departments-prepared