Can't bar beach development
If the Department of Environmental Protection's nearly 300-page rulebook is any indication, building on the beach in New Jersey is no easy task. But a source tells Grapevine that Resorts Casino Hotel is being "grandfathered in" as it looks to revive the former Steeplechase Pier as an oceanfront bar and restaurant.
The gaming hall has applied for an environmental permit to build a Margaritaville Landshark Bar & Grill on the site of the historic pier, according to a June 28 story in the Press of Atlantic City. Resorts already owns the development rights to the property, potentially smoothing the way for the reported $6 million project.
According to the story, Steeplechase Pier was destroyed in a 1988 fire and has been targeted for redevelopment for more than a decade. All that remains is a small platform with three small carts, the story said.
The source said that Resorts' plan can be grandfathered in because it builds upon a structure that already exists.
Resorts' application is currently under review by the DEP, which administers the Coastal Area Facility Review Act that governs beach development. The DEP's website provides access to all 282 pages of CAFRA regulations.
Small banks' mating dance
Banks are hunting eagerly for merger partners, but this is a complicated dating game. Grapevine is hearing that some smaller banks are going to the party with an unrealistically inflated notion of how much they're worth. And the larger banks may just decide to open up a new branch, siphon off the small bank's business and sidestep all the hassles of acquiring a bank.
One close watcher of this mating dance suggests we'll see smaller banks merging with one another: "They know they can't go it alone, but they don't want to get swallowed up by a big bank."
Primed for prime time?
Forget the vice presidency. Could Chris Christie be the next Bill O'Reilly?
The rumor continues that the governor will leave his post to take a job at a cable talk show. The talk has been around State Street — and beyond — since springtime. Details are sketchy about which channel it would be, but some assume it would be Fox News.
Hogwash, according to a GOP source who dismissed the scuttlebutt as "ridiculous." The rumor "has been the subject of great amusement in the Christie camp," according to the Republican source.
Even a Democratic source described the whispers as probably just wishful thinking by Democrats.
The check is in the mail
St. Mary's Hospital Passaic, which recently announced it is negotiating exclusively with Ascension Health Care Network for a new ownership deal, last week dismissed a rumor that it had missed a payroll cycle.
"That's absolutely nothing more than an inaccurate rumor," said Vanessa Warner, St. Mary's director of public affairs.
Warner again confirmed the discussions with Ascension, adding the hospital hopes "to have positive news very soon."
The new University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro has received national attention for its design aimed at healing patients faster. The attention has spread outside of New Jersey — and the United States — as Princeton HealthCare System President and CEO Barry Rabner will be traveling to China, Denmark and Singapore this summer to speak with government and hospital executives about the $522.7 million facility.
Rabner said he has been meeting with Department of Labor and Workforce Development representatives to work out a plan so he can serve as an "ambassador" for other New Jersey businesses while he's abroad.
Rabner also said he's been approached by the state's Motion Picture and Television Commission to see if the new hospital can be used as a set location for movies. Rabner's response to the request? "How cool."
Let me count the ways
The governor's press office is prolific with its e-mails, and ability to do math. The latest "Christie by the Numbers" e-mail touts his recent milestone of 5 million YouTube video views. The e-mail listed 23 other categories of numbers, including 125,820 Twitter followers, 352 bills signed, 88 town halls and two "idiots." The tally also included 327,832 fat jokes by David Letterman, but labeled "questions about running for president/vice president" as "too many to count."
Who is the statistician in the governor's press office? Grapevine hears last week's e-mail, like all of them, is a collaborative effort.
Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at email@example.com.