Game Of Thrones

Writing for the Associated Press, Wayne Parry reports that the Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City New Jersey will be closing (“Owners of Trump Plaza casino expect it will close”, 7-12-14). Three other casinos there have either closed recently or are in the process (The Atlantic Club, Showboat and Revel). Parry gives the human toll: “The Atlantic Club closure cost 1,600 workers their jobs. An additional 2,100 at Showboat will be unemployed as of Aug. 31, in addition to the 1,009 Trump Plaza workers on the payroll. Revel has 3,100 workers who could lose their jobs if the 2-year-old casino resort is not sold.” In addition, he notes “The company [Trump Entertainment Resorts] did not indicate what might become of the building after it is closed.” “What might become of the building after it is closed” brought to mind Newark’s Meijer’s store on north 21st Street. But then again, those with any memory will recall the Roper factory, whose chimney was only recently demolished. Etc. The current news in Newark, of Newark, about Newark is all over the map with no rhyme or reason proffered by those delivering all the news that’s fit… Meijer’s “development” in north Newark is roughly concurrent with Donald Trump’s “development” of the Trump Plaza Casino (though not nearly as lucrative). At that time Trump was hailed as the salvation of Atlantic City (pre Sandy, mind you). Newark’s official hopes also seem to ride on the back of some such similar white knight. At one time it was Dave Longaberger whose entrepreneurial achievements knew no end (likewise roughly concurrent with Trump Plaza and Meijer’s). Ultimately, the “world headquarters” of Dave’s home décor empire appeared at Newark’s doorstep. With continuous decline over the years, Newark Advocate readers were told with great fanfare last year that controlling shares of the company were sold to a holding company (CVSL), headquartered in Texas and Switzerland. This ostensibly marked a “development” with Longaberger’s home décor’s now having access to Australia and the world. Last week we were told the company has no CEO, and it is once again within these straights (déjà vu all over again!). “What might become of the building after it is closed” should the company extend its downward spiral? Visions of the second quirkiest landmark building in the US being vacant due to foreclosure do not make for savory Newark tourism. Would it still be on the charter bus itinerary? The current Newark white knight appears to be Jerry McClain (there have been others, a veritable long grey line of chevaliers). The world headquarters of McClain’s company are now located in Newark itself. In addition to this, his controlling stake in Newark’s only mid-town, high rise hotel is lauded as the beginning of Newark’s current renaissance. Er, the renaming of a hotel which once was part of Dave’s empire, that is. The Newark Advocate reported that McClain plans to find a buyer for his investment once the building’s current reincarnation is consummated. Unlike the Meijer building, it has managed to avoid total vacancy (too chic chic to flash a “Vacancy” sign!). Other buildings in Newark have not fared so well. Concurrent with the lionized name change (promotional) news is the news of the continued demolition of vacant residential structures, with many more projected to follow. Unlike that entrepreneurial “naming” coup, “what might become of the(se) building(s) after it is closed” is at the tax payer’s expense (the workers who perhaps previously had been tenants of this investment dream). This hot on the heels of reported news that 49% of Newark’s residential properties are of this type (investments to be sold as the Hilton Double Tree will eventually be). And even more hot on the heels of news covering the “investment” tax credits extended to those currently projecting mid-town residential property “development”. Even more hot on the heels of the demolition of an investment property adjacent to the municipal building; again at the expense of the (over) taxed average worker, who got no (tax) credit for their practical bit of chivalry. Analysis finds that the unreported aspect with all these “investments” and “developments” is the human toll left in the wake of the white knight’s charges (Don Quixote NOT!). Perhaps it is time to entertain the imagining of some kind of a performance surety bond in place of tax credits for all these “development investments”? One that would account for “what might become of the building after it is closed”; with a white knight rider attached!

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