Mayor Don Guardian wants to restore the “wow factor” to his Atlantic City. Will our Brigantine Mayor learn a thing or two from his counterpart next door? We hope so. Guardian wants to transition AC from a gaming town with some attractions….. to an attraction town with some gaming.
Reinvention. Again. New ideas. New leaders. AC is clearing a path. Will Brigantine leadership be smart enough to leverage that massive economic development just across the inlet? So far, no one in City Hall, Republican or Democrat……has spent much time talking about a retail rebound on Brigantine Beach. The Chamber of Commerce has yet to offer their plan to fill the 40 empty storefronts in Brigantine. Nonetheless, here’s what’s going on right across the bridge from Brigantine:
- Seawall along north shore of AC & extension of boardwalk to Gardner’s Basin for the first time since 1944. Project completed by DEC 2016.Construction begins in spring:
- Twenty-two acres in Gardner’s Basin itself will be transformed, Guardian said, with restaurants and shops brought into a development zone equal in size to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
- Stockton College’s purchase & planned expansion of the Showboat Casino should make it more desirable for young professionals to set up some roots in the AC area. Stockton’s newest campus could open as soon as fall 2015. School hired 42 new teachers just last year.
- Tropicana Casino and Resort will cough up $35 million for upgrades, including a Boardwalk light show that will launch on Memorial Day 2015. A series of digital displays spanning the length of the building and visible up and down the walk. By day, they’ll display advertisements and messages in high definition. By night, spotlights, music and illuminated palm trees will create a year-round light show that will change with the seasons. By spring, Tropicana will have new public fitness center, making it the only one in Atlantic City.
- Steel Pier has spent $23 million in renovations since 2012, adding 14 new rides. Revenues up 20 percent over 2013. Revenue from games, food and beverages up 40%. A new observation wheel will take riders 220 feet above Boardwalk. Pier will be expanded 30,000 sq. feet. Also on the way…..a new “Slingshot” ride. Families remain target market. Some of pier’s attractions will be covered. Goal is to create “a year-round destination and centerpiece for AC.”
- Philly developer Bart Blatstein, bought The Pier Shops at Caesars for $2.5 million. (originally built for $200 million) The Pier is currently uninviting to visitors, Blatstein said, with poor signage and tinted windows that don’t make its attractions known. Major developments beginning after Jan. 1. Seeking businesses that cater to 25- to 40-year-old singles, people who reliably spend $10 an hour over a 24-hour period. “My market is a demographic that has money to spend (and) that wants to go out and spend it,” he says. “I think that Atlantic City needs an injection of youth.” He was very enthusiastic about the synergistic potential of a proposed urban campus for Stockton.
- BORAIE DEVELOPMENT —The South Inlet area…housing and retail development. Construction of 250-unit apartment building. CRDA has set aside $30 million for the project, the rest coming from private investment. Boraie will follow success of existing condos on the city’s north end, like Bella and Enclave.