As far as I’m concerned, Pinnacle has just about used up any residual goodwill it had in Atlantic City. Not content with trashing 2,000 jobs and blowing up a major casino on the 50/50 chance that they’ll actually build something, the company is now trying to use eminent domain to seize private businesses located across Pacific Avenue, just in case they decide they want to expand their non-project. From the AC Press:
Pinnacle Atlantic City CEO Kim Townsend attended the meeting Wednesday and acknowledged that councils delayed decision on the surrounding properties would slow down their project.
Opponents of the eminent domain effort point to Pinnacle’s announcement in February that the poor credit markets could break their project plans.
The companys chairman, Dan Lee, reaffirmed the plans to build when he addressed New Jersey gaming regulators late last month, despite the poor market.
Officials with the developer have stressed their projects uncertain future has not stopped their efforts to continue with the preconstruction process, including the eminent domain effort.
But the looming possibility that development could fail has some officials concerned about demolishing properties and, in the end, building nothing to replace them.
"We don’t want to see a big hole there," Councilman George Tibbitt said.
Asked to respond to Tibbitt’s comments, Townsend told a reporter, "There already is a hole there, honey," referring to the vacant lot Pinnacle created when the Sands Casino nearly a year ago.
"Our dirt lot looks better than the adult bookstore around us," she said.
This is ridiculous. If Pinnacle can’t pay these property owners what they think their businesses are worth, then they don’t get to buy it. End of story. In a delightfully ironic twist, jewelry store owner Quang Ha, whose store Pinnacle wants, fled communist oppression in Vietnam and spent time in a refugee camp before living the American dream in Atlantic City.
Townshend’s response to Tibbit’s comment that “we don’t want to see a hole there” is possibly the most inexcusably arrogant pronouncement I’ve heard from a major executive…ever. That’s saying a lot–I used to work for Donald Trump.
“There already is a hole there, honey…” right, because your company closed and imploded a worn but workable casino and then, through your own ineptitude, you failed to get the money to build there? There’s more than one hole there, honey–trust me. And your dirt lot looks….like a dirt lot. When I get the chance, I’ll post some pictures and the readers can judge for themselves.
BTW, nice of the reporter/editor to mangle the sentence after Townshend’s idiotic retort–when the Sands what nearly a year ago?
If Mr. Ha loses his business, I say the state should immediately invoke eminent domain to seize “Pinnacle Atlantic City” at below-market value. After all, they aren’t building anything, and it’d be hard to argue that their “property” is anything but an eyesore. And what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, isn’t it?