AC project

City Council has approved a plan that will bring a major redevelopment project to Atlantic City’s South Inlet, highlighted by a movie theater and a supermarket.

The vote Wednesday night finalizes an agreement between the city and Shaquille O’Neal partner Boraie Development LLC for a $75 million development in the section known as Pauline’s Prairie.

“This project is a shining example of urban community development at its best,” Mayor Lorenzo Langford said Thursday. He said Boraie Development is known for building successful inner-city projects with mixed-use residential, retail, commercial and entertainment components.

“They bring to Atlantic City the knowledge, expertise and capital necessary to create a new, vibrant community,” Langford said.

In October, Langford insisted the group was “serious about coming to Atlantic City” after he met with retired NBA legend O’Neal and others.

Plans for the Southern Inlet Village Community Project — which spans Atlantic Avenue from Delaware to New Jersey avenues — include an entertainment complex; movie theater; residential, commercial, office and retail space; and a supermarket and parking.

The centerpiece is a Shaq Cityplex-branded movie theater, a first for Atlantic City.

“I’m proud to be part of this amazing development,” O’Neal said in a statement. “When it is completed, Atlantic City residents and visitors will see what my team’s vision is for Atlantic City and our commitment to the urban center.”

The group expects to break ground later this year, company Vice President Wasseem Boraie said.

First, it will need to develop a residential base who would live in the planned high-rise, said Keith Mills, city director of Planning and Development, noting that section of town is not densely populated.

“Step two would be commercial development to follow,” he said.

Mills could not give a time frame.

“We’re familiar with the Boraie company, and they’ve got a good reputation,” said Kim Butler, spokeswoman for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. “We’re excited about any new development that happens for the city and especially in the Tourism District.”

The CRDA is anxious to see the plans, she added.

“The Southern Inlet Village Community Project will create a unique mixed-use urban environment within the city of Atlantic City, and the redevelopment will create a multiplier effect to encourage additional development throughout this beautiful enclave in the city,” Boraie said.

Richard Stockton College was at one point also interested in the site. Plans were first discussed publicly 17 months ago when the CRDA talked to a civic group about the college’s potential expansion. CRDA maps in circulation within the past year label the blocks now targeted for the commercial development as a “potential Stockton academic campus.”

Sharon Schulman, the college’s CEO for external affairs and institutional research, said Thursday that the college is still exploring the possibility of an expansion, but the location remains undetermined.

“At one time, there were conversations (about that site),” Schulman said. “At this point, our discussions are still ongoing. Nothing is firm enough to be able to talk about.”

Stockton already has a satellite campus at the Carnegie Library in Atlantic City. The college also runs Dante Hall Theater for the Arts in the city’s Ducktown neighborhood, and will be leasing the first floor of The Wave parking garage for an art-retail development expected to open by September.

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Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.

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