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Grapevine: Coach's firing creates RAC flak

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Guess it's not the best time for Rutgers to talk about spending hundreds of millions to expand the RAC. Two sources said plans called for the university board of governors to discuss the renovation of the Louis Brown Athletic Center at its meeting this week, but the item was dropped after the university was thrown into turmoil with the firing of Mike Rice.

The Rutgers media office declined to comment.

Michael Graves & Associates has been commissioned to design the multiphase project and will partner with Heery International, a sports facility design firm, according to a release about the project. Part of the project includes the addition of a state-of-the-art practice facility for men's and women's basketball; other noteworthy additions would be a Rutgers Hall of Fame, a seating bowl reconfiguration with premium seating and other building improvements.

On a Rutgers video — no, not that video — Tim Pernetti talked to RUTV about the time table for the renovations. In the September 2012 clip, Pernetti hoped the renovated facility would be in use for the 2015 season but said there were a "a lot of variables" with the time frame, most notably fundraising.

Apparently, more variables entered the picture last week.

The Prospect of a takeover

Grapevine has learned a new player has entered the competition for St. Clare's Health System. Prospect Medical Holdings Inc., in California, also is at the negotiation table, according to a health care expert. Prospect owns seven hospitals, under Alta Hospitals Systems in California and Nix Hospitals System in Texas.

St. Clare's spokeswoman Stephanie Galloway reiterated to NJBIZ that St. Clare's and the system's parent company, Catholic Health Initiatives, have been in discussions with Atlantic Health, among other health care systems, but that speculation on the outcome would be premature.

Galloway did not mention any involvement from Prospect Medical Holdings, which did not return a request for comment before publication.

Stopping the presses

The historic Jersey Journal building in Jersey City has a new owner, following the Hudson County newspaper's announcement last year that it was selling its home of nearly 90 years.

The building at 30 Journal Square recently was acquired by KABR Real Estate Investments, in Ridgefield Park, and the Kushner Cos., Grapevine has learned. Whether the paper has found new offices was unclear last week, but Publisher Kendrick Ross reportedly told employees in December that the search could take up to eight months.

Meanwhile, the new owners of the five-story, 100,000-square-foot Journal building have ties to New Jersey's second-largest city: KABR, an opportunistic real estate fund founded in 2008, is chaired by Kenneth Pasternak, who co-founded Jersey City-based Knight Trading Group in 1995 before retiring as its chairman in 2002.

The Journal, which is owned by Advance Publications, is among the latest New Jersey newspapers to shed real estate as they scramble to rein in costs. In January, the Gannett-owned Asbury Park Press announced its 24,000-square-foot Neptune headquarters was up for sale. The word came after the Home News Tribune, its Middlesex County sister paper, said last summer that it hadn't renewed the lease at its East Brunswick headquarters, instead moving to the Somerset County newsroom of the Courier News.

Bringing down the house

Political observers continue to study the tea leaves on what Chris Christie wants in November.

One theory has that the governor would like to take back the Senate because he could break the blockage on the Senate Judiciary Committee where his Supreme Court picks have languished or failed. But that might be it, according to one political observer.

"I don't think he wants both houses," the source said. If Christie had a Republican Legislature, "you can't use the other side as a foil, like Kean used to do with Karcher. He used him as a foil every day. … It made Kean look so much more like a leader and above the fray."

Karcher, described as a "fiery liberal" in his obituary in The New York Times, was Assembly speaker when Kean was governor.

Correction appended: The second item has been updated to reflect that St. Clare's and Catholic Health Initiatives have been in discussions with Atlantic Health, among other health care systems.

Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at sharonw@njbiz.com.

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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