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Grapevine: And they’re off ... track betting

Last month, the New Jersey Racing Commission gave the thumbs-up to a new off-track betting facility in Gloucester Township.

That's still awaiting final approval from the state attorney general's office, which has until Nov. 4 to do so. It would be the fifth of its kind in the state and the first in Camden County.

But plans for New Jersey's sixth off-track wagering site are already in the works for one Somerset County town, says one industry source.

Hillsborough is currently being eyed by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association for a new potential site. The association has already submitted an application for a site there but was sent back to the drawing board after it was deemed incomplete by the commission a few months ago.

The association is currently reworking their application and expected to submit another one in the future, said the source, who also noted that the process is “still in the early stages.”

There's no indication yet as to who would operate the proposed facility. Penn National Gaming, which runs an off-track wagering site in Ocean County, has been named as the operator of the pending Gloucester Township facility.

Other than Gloucester, the state currently only has off-track wagering at locations in Woodbridge, Bayonne, Vineland and Toms River.

Banking on the Gold Coast 

Downsizing in the banking sector is likely to leave more than a few holes on New Jersey's Gold Coast in the coming year, but there is new buzz about the prospects for filling one the biggest voids in the waterfront office market.

The Royal Bank of Canada is reportedly interested in the 300,000-square-foot space atop Goldman Sach's landmark building in Jersey City, one source said. Talks are still in the very early stages, but such a deal would be a major win for the submarket.

Goldman has sought to sublease an upper section of the 42-story tower, which opened about a decade ago and was supposed to house thousands of employees in Jersey City. But many were reluctant to cross the Hudson River, leaving parts of the building vacant.

Waterfront landlords such as Mack-Cali will also be looking to plug holes in their portfolio next year. The company is losing Morgan Stanley as a tenant in its Harborside Plaza complex — to the tune of 300,000 square feet — a move expected to take place in the first quarter.

Crowd funding ahead

A leading corporate and securities attorney advising crowdfunding portals breathed a sigh of relief when he heard the proposed rules for crowdfunding that were proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Instead of opponents “submarining” legislation intended to make it easier for early-stage companies to raise capital, he's telling his clients to be ready to go.

“I think this is a resounding recognition that they had a congressional and presidential mandate to get this going,” he said.

By a 5-0 vote, the agency approved first rules regarding Title III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS Act, a section that governs critical elements of the law. SEC rules establish dollar limits on crowdfunding, outline disclosure requirements for companies and detail other procedures. Ellenoff said the rules largely comply with the spirit of the JOBS Act.

The SEC is now seeking public comment for 90 days, but the source said he expects actual crowdfunding portals to begin operating in mid-2014.

Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Tom Bergeron at tomb@njbiz.com.

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