The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has plans to move forward with a redevelopment project in Atlantic City’s South Inlet using alternative funding sources.
Plans were announced last year to demolish several blocks of property, including a number of housing units, between Revel and Absecon Lighthouse in favor of creating upscale shops, restaurants, housing and a park. Those plans, however would require as much as a $50 million investment leveraged through revenue streams from Revel, the city’s newest casino, officials said at the time.
Given Revel’s disappointing performance in its first year, the authority now plans to devote a much smaller portion of existing CRDA funding to move the project forward starting with the area closest to the lighthouse, CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri said.
Palmieri declined to specify the amount of funding. The CRDA’s board is scheduled to vote on a fund reservation for the project at its meeting Tuesday at Dante Hall Theater, according to an agenda for the meeting.
“We’re still hopeful that Revel’s performance will improve, but we are planning to move forward with a small portion of the project in the meantime,” Palmieri said.
The project might be split into several phases, although it’s not clear how many, Palmieri said.
The breakdown is a marked change from initial plans for the project. In June, the New Jersey Economy Development Authority and CRDA approved agreements that would help secure $50 million in loans for the project. The arrangement would have allowed the EDA to borrow the money from a lender, with the CRDA relying on funding derived from agreements with Revel to pay back the loans.
The CRDA has already devoted some smaller portions of funding, including a $1.2 million allocation in June, for the start of a land acquisition process, which is expected to cost $25 million.
Included in the project’s boundaries are more than 60 residences primarily in the low-rise Vermont and Metropolitan plazas. Residents within the boundaries were required to attend informational meetings on relocation procedures last year. Some residents later criticized the CRDA, saying they were initially told they would have to leave their homes by December but then received no communication from the authority.
CRDA officials later said residents would be given more than the state-mandated 90-day notice to vacate, but said no timeline for the project currently existed.
Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford, also a member of the CRDA board, has said his support for the project would hinge on the willingness of the CRDA to facilitate a land swap that would allow the city to create an affordable housing project. That project could offset the housing that would be lost in the South Inlet, he said.
A resolution authorizing a land swap with the city also is on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.
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