A state agency has signed a final agreement for a Bass Pro Shops store that will serve as an anchor for Atlantic City's retail and entertainment district.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority reached agreement July 10 with Cordish Co., the original developer of The Walk shopping district at the foot of the Atlantic City Expressway, the agency announced Tuesday.
The CRDA is the state agency that oversees Atlantic City's Tourism District, a sprawling section of town that includes the Boardwalk, beaches, casinos and The Walk, among other areas.
Bass Pro Shops, a national retailer, plans to build a 70,000-square-foot store that will be the centerpiece of The Walk's fourth and final phase of expansion. It will be built on a four-acre parcel on Atlantic Avenue just off the expressway entrance.
"Bass Pro Shops has made it clear that they want to be the tenant, the leasee," CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri told the authority's board during its monthly meeting Tuesday.
Construction is expected to begin in mid-September, pending other regulatory and building approvals. The store will open in late 2014, giving Atlantic City another major retail attraction for tourists and local shoppers, Palmieri said.
"There were some bumps along the way, but we made it into the end zone," he noted about the negotiations to get the project done.
Baltimore-based Cordish, which was the original owner of The Walk, maintains development rights for the fourth phase of expansion. In 2011, Cordish sold most of The Walk to Tanger Factory Outlet Centers in a $199 million deal involving cash and debt.
Earlier, the CRDA approved $12.3 million in financing for the Bass Pro Shops store, a little more than two-thirds of the project's estimated $18 million price tag. An additional $11 million in tax abatements are planned over 11 years, the CRDA has said.
"As far as I know, the financials have not changed," CRDA spokeswoman Kim Butler said.
In another project at its board meeting Tuesday, the CRDA gave approval for development plans for a proposed 200-foot-high observation wheel at the Boardwalk's Steel Pier amusement park.
Plans for the observation wheel, also called a gondola, were announced earlier this year. The ride is expected to open next year. A 31,500-square-foot expansion of Steel Pier will support the observation wheel.
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