Atlantic City’s Credit Rating Is Downgraded

Trump Taj Mahal, 2007

Trump Taj Mahal, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY – Standard & Poor’s downgraded Atlantic City’s credit rating from A-minus to BBB-plus on Monday, citing mainly the closing of four of 12 casinos this year.

The downgrade, which includes a negative outlook for the city, comes as Atlantic City is struggling with the loss of tax revenue because of the closures.

Combined, the shuttered gambling halls – Atlantic Club, Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza, which closed last Tuesday – generated about $75 million in property tax revenue last year. A fifth – Trump Taj Mahal – may close in November.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140923_JERSEY_SHORE.html#8By6Www9h9YC1lJB.99

Sears Closing Store At Century III Mall In West Mifflin

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Sears store at Century III Mall is slated to close in early December.

A spokesman for Sears Holdings in Illinois said a liquidation sale is scheduled to start Friday.

“Store closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” said Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Sears Holdings, in an email.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/09/22/Sears-closing-store-at-Century-III-Mall-in-West-Mifflin-Pittsburgh/stories/201409220183

96th Annual Ephrata Fair Kicks Off Tuesday

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Ninety-six years young, the Ephrata Fair takes to the streets of the borough starting Tuesday.

The county’s oldest fair fills Main Street from Lincoln Avenue to Park Avenue, and State Street from Locust to Fulton, stopping just short of the Pioneer Fire Company building.

On the midway, the fair-goer will find food stands selling everything from full meals to sandwiches and cotton candy, including the Akron Lions’ Club’s famous toasted cheeseburger, along with games of chance and rides for all age groups, provided by Houghton Enterprises Inc. In Thomas Grater Memorial Park, Lancaster County’s youth shows off the best in livestock.

On Wednesday, the 81st annual Ephrata Fair Parade takes to the streets. This year’s edition features not one, not two, but three Mummers bands from Philadelphia, the Fralinger String band, the Uptown String Band and the Quaker City String Band, first place winners in the 2014 Mummers Day Parade.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/ephrata/news/th-annual-ephrata-fair-kicks-off-tuesday/article_dc00a0aa-3ddc-11e4-95be-0017a43b2370.html

Fair Website: ephratafair.org

Restaurants Renew Farm-To-Table Dining Concept In York County. Has Its Time Come?

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

The walls of Tutoni’s in York are covered with chalkboards — one displaying cuts of a pig, another showing different types of cheese — each with a description of where the food came from.

The pork loin, for example, was once a Heritage pig that roamed free on Rettland Farm in Adams County.

Bright green arugula leaves, one chalkboard says, were grown in the greenhouses of Brogue Hydroponics in Chanceford Township.

Soft, silky mozzarella was made at Caputo Brothers Creamy in Jackson Township.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_26566765/farm-table-dining-has-failed-york-county-before

11th Annual Carousel Of Flavor Culinary Festival

Date : Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 from noon to 4 p.m.

100 Block of High Street, Pottstown in front of Borough Hall

Expanded wine and beer garden this year!  Over 6,000 attended last year.  Featuring live bands, crafters and entertainment for children of all ages.Picture 206

Stricken Revel Has A Buyer – For $90M In Cash

Map of New Jersey

Map of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Revel AC Inc. said in a bankruptcy court filing Wednesday that it had reached a deal to sell its $2.4 billion Atlantic City property to South Florida developer Glenn Straub for $90 million in cash.

The deal was reached Friday, according to the filing. That was less than a week after Revel closed, putting nearly 3,000 people out of work.

The offer is less than 4 percent of the casino’s original price tag.

“It’s not going to be just a casino,” Straub said. “There’s four people that would make excellent casino operators, but that building is much, much more than just a casino.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140911_Stricken_Revel_has_a_buyer_for__90M_in_cash.html#UYw7HbKdWPWbAI8K.99

Tourism Touted As Means To Rejuvenate Pottstown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — “Tourism” might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you say “Pottstown,” but as far as Bill Fitzgerald is concerned, that won’t be true for long.

Fitzgerald is the president of the newly reconstituted Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board and he was in town last week to talk to Pottstown Borough Council about how his organization can help promote what Pottstown has to offer.

Tourism is on the upswing in Montgomery County, Fitzgerald said, and Pottstown is well-positioned to benefit from that trend, Fitzgerald said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140908/tourism-touted-as-means-to-rejuvenate-pottstown

Downtown York Boutique Owners Look To Offer A Unique Shopping Experience

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

When Alex Chiaruttini was looking for the perfect little black dress to take with her on an overseas trip, she found it at Indigo Bleu, a recently opened boutique on York’s West Philadelphia Street.

The 43-year-old environmental attorney and Springettsbury Township resident said she doesn’t shop at malls and prefers shopping at downtown York boutiques because their owners know Chiaruttini’s style and what she might like.

“It’s more fun than shopping online,” Chiaruttini said Wednesday evening while shopping with a friend at Elizabeth & West Fashion House, another downtown York boutique.

Wednesday was the second day of York’s annual Boutique Week. Downtown Inc. and a committee of downtown merchants launched the event in 2012 to give shopkeepers a chance to show off their merchandise and attract new customers. The week includes a fashion show Friday evening at Central Market. Boutique owners like Zarah Brooks, owner of Indigo Bleu, say they offer their customers a more personal experience and different merchandise than can be found at a mall.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/yorkcity/ci_26462981/downtown-boutique-owners-look-offer-unique-shopping-experience

Allentown Residents Benefiting From Hockey Arena Area Job Growth

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Oliver Velasquez arrived for a job fair earlier this summer at the new Allentown hockey arena, he was shocked by the number of attendees.

“I didn’t expect to see that many people; there must have been thousands,” the 26-year-old Allentown resident said. “The line actually wrapped around the block a couple of times.”

Velasquez waited in that line, and it paid off for him. He is now the PPL Center’s new suites and catering manager, providing banquets for catered events and overseeing food in the arena’s private suites.

He is one of more than 300 city residents to find employment as part of an effort by community activists and city officials to ensure people living in Allentown get a fair shot at the jobs being created by downtown redevelopment.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/09/allentown_residents_benefittin.html

Bethlehem Distillery Gets OK For State’s First New Economic Development Incentive

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

A Bethlehem-based distillery to be opened by the owner of Franklin Hill Vineyards received approval today to be the first business in the state to use a new economic development incentive.

The Bethlehem Revitalization and Improvement Authority gave its unanimous approval to grant the distillery — which will be called Social Still — funding through the state’s City Revitalization and Improvement Zone. The designation allows state and local nonproperty taxes from new businesses in the zone to help finance new development within it.

Authority members debated today over how much of those taxes the business should get. The authority’s guidelines say the authority “strives” to give the developer 80 percent of the funding, an amount board member Ann McHale said is too low for such a unique project.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/09/distillery_gets_ok_for_bethleh.html

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/