ATLANTIC CITY – Lots of people arrive in Atlantic City touting the next game changer.
Like developer Bart Blatstein, whose $100 million water park opened in January alongside Showboat, with all the usual high-heeled Blatstein hype and publicity, and the promise of a 2023 opening.
But in the meantime, there are other, quieter game changers in the works. As Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. said in his recent rousing State of the City address from a ballroom at Caesars Hotel, not everyone has to be a game changer. so much to make the difference.
“Everyone wants to talk about a Grand Slam,” Small told the crowd. “But Atlantic City, we’re in a position where we need everything. We need singles, doubles. We need the decay of sacrifice. You have to get hit by a throw. We have to walk.
We gotta get hit with a pitch. This could be another in a series of century-long slogans for Atlantic City’s sometimes self-deprecating, sometimes ambitious pursuit of dreams.
It exactly matched the gambling city by the ocean. From the ban defying Miss America to the casinos to all the various show business entrepreneurs who have come to town with their latest big ideas and dizzying fundraising strategies, Atlantic City welcomes you.
Here’s a look at a dozen projects, big and small, planned or underway or even about to open, for Atlantic City, which appears to have gained some post-pandemic momentum.
(These are plans for add amenities to the city, as opposed to the much-celebrated achievement of 2021: the implosion of Trump Plaza, which left prime land still empty adjacent to Boardwalk Hall, one of many “failed projects” Small promises to push back rear burners this year.)
Despite the extended baseball analogy, it is mini-golf that people are passionate about. The spring opening of North Beach Mini Golf is hailed as a sign that a long-barren neighborhood across Brigantine Creek might be on its way back.
Once a neighborhood of families and former iconic establishments like Hackney’s, the Inlet area has sported its vast swaths of vacant land through multiple jurisdictions.
But the section of boardwalk and seawall that collapsed in Hurricane Sandy has been renovated and now connects around Caspian Point (a parcel of land owned by Jared Kushner and another so-called failed project) until at Gardner Basin. It’s just lovely.
On Euclid Avenue, a block from the Absecon Lighthouse and next to the Altman Playground (also slated for upgrades, including a tennis court that may or may not soon receive a net), the Intrieri brothers are building a two-level mini-golf course and bike rental, with a terrace connected to the boardwalk.
Buoyed by the success of their short-term rental properties in the neighborhood, where Mike has also purchased a home, the brothers believe the neighborhood is ripe for a revival.
Nearby on Atlantic Avenue, developer Wasseem Boraie’s 600 North Beach rental development was popular enough that he planned 700 North Beach, a skyscraper and 24 townhouses.
As AirBnB operators, the Intieris know people are eager to experience Atlantic City beyond the casinos and to do things that make them feel “like a local.” Cue Mini Golf, Fishing Courtesy of One Stop Bait Shop, Caspian Avenue Beach, by Tony Boloneyeven a Hot Bagel.
They hope that a field belonging to the neighboring town could even be turned into recreation – perhaps pickleball courts like those that await hundreds of people in other coastal towns. Why not CA?
“We’re both very optimistic about Atlantic City’s cool factor,” Nick Intrieri said.
Although there have been numerous proposals to bring back Kentucky Avenue, once a bustling home of black culture known as “KY. and the Curb,” this one has the backing of Grammy-winning, Los Angeles-based record producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins.
Jerkins, a native of Pleasantville, NJ, envisions recording and sound studios, educational opportunities and a satellite location on the ground floor of the Museum of African American Heritage in Atlantic City.
Museum founder Ralph Hunter said the Kentucky Avenue site would focus on Atlantic City’s historic “Northside,” a thriving and vibrant black neighborhood that was once home to doctors, lawyers, restaurants and clubs. He said they hoped to be more advanced by the time the national NAACP agreement is coming to Atlantic City July 14-20, but it’s been a slow process.
“It’s been a long and difficult battle to get there,” he said. “We need to be able to tell the Northside story about the Northside.”
One of Atlantic City’s true marquee destination restaurants, Kelsey’s supper club and soul food restaurant on Pacific Avenue begins planning its expansion into a new two-story building with a rooftop terrace, across from its current location.
One of the few non-casino restaurants where locals and visitors line up every day at 4 p.m. to get a Happy Hour spot, Kelsey’s never seems to have enough space. Small said the project marks a new push to get the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to invest in minority-owned businesses. ” Frankly, [the CRDA] never did anything for minority businesses,” Small said.
Oddly, the Ocean Casino Hotel has room for around 400 new rooms in the center of its tower, 12 floors unbuilt since it opened in 2012 as Revel. With its checkered history behind it, the new owners not only admit that yes, you can see right in the center of the building at night where the rooms should be, but they’re also committing $75 million to complete the tower.
On Tennessee and New York Avenues, home to several successful locations known collectively as the “Orange Loop,” plans continue for additional rental properties, boutique hotels and restaurants, including the Cardinal Hotel. andRestaurant
When Bally’s new owners decided not to continue with the Dougherty family’s popular Harry’s Oyster Bar in the courtyard between the Dennis Towers, just off the promenade, locals and visitors alike shunned. But their newly announced plans might make everyone feel better (and there’s always Knife & Fork and Docks Oyster House to get a dose of Dougherty.)
Bally spokeswoman Diane Spiers said the yard would open this summer. It will occupy the 10,000-foot courtyard space, half of which is an indoor-outdoor glass structure inspired by beer halls in Philadelphia and New York.
Its modern industrial design will include entertainment, craft beer, gastro pub restaurants, lounge seating and games in a park-like setting.
It will join the Boardwalk Biergarten and Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall to make Atlantic City an easy place for a hip beer crawl. “The Yard is a game changer,” said naturally Paul Juliano, Bally’s senior vice president of operations.
This massive $2.7 billion project would definitely land in the grand slam arena. Small touted it to his address with a separate video, even though no deal has been reached for the waterfront property.
Considered a “net zero carbon” development, the residential, commercial and recreational microgrid development would occupy Bader Field, the former municipal airstrip in Atlantic City. It would cater to “motorsports enthusiasts” and include a 2.44-mile FIA-standard driving course, 1,100 duplexes, mid- and high-rise luxury condominiums, a 160-room hotel and 400 townhouses. city and affordable apartments. It would seek to create professional opportunities and create jobs.
It would be a “showcase for the design of resilient, sustainable and progressive buildings” and a “model of energy production and distribution”, according to the four partners, two local and two based in Los Angeles, known as DEEM .
“We’re trying to capture a number of opportunities for the city of Atlantic City,” said Los Angeles-based investor Erick Feitshans, who noted the property would need costly environmental remediation. “The auto part is just one of them.”
He said the group created its proposal based on needs cited by Jim Johnson when he was special adviser to Governor PhilMurphy in Atlantic City. Feisthans acknowledged there was skepticism about such a big project, but said, “We think if you provide the town with all the normal things a town should have, people will populate it.”
Residents are excited for a major supermarket to come to town, especially after the disappointment at Renaissance Plaza, where a Save-a-Lot discount is under new ownership, but CVS has closed. The liquor store is thriving.
Officials eventually opened a ShopRite near the Convention Center, operated by Village Super Markets Inc., which leases the space for $1 a year from the state. Its realization should take 13 to 15 months.
Small also said the former Ruffu Ford land near Bader Field would be turned into a waterfront park, in conjunction with Atlantic County.
(And not for nothing, city officials are gearing up to become the East Coast’s premier recreational cannabis destination, once the state finalizes regulations. Stay tuned.)
READ MORE: Why You Still Can’t Buy Legal Weed In New Jersey
In one of those we’ll take, the hit-by-a-pitch moves, the long-vacant Pat’s Steaks building at 1100 Atlantic will be taken over by a Popa Pizza.
“I know a lot of you guys burst out laughing because you know we’re doing really, really well if this place was growing,” Small said.
In order to achieve this long-sought goal of synchronizing traffic lights along Atlantic and Pacific avenues so that motorists do not have to repeatedly stop at red lights, the city has agreed to take a road diet (sacrifice the bunt?) for funding, which will turn Atlantic Avenue into a two-lane street with turning lanes.