Plans for the Atlantic City Tourism District’s “Eds and Meds” and arts district neighborhoods began to form Tuesday as the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved two projects that could anchor concepts developed in the city’s master plan.
Reliance Medical Group, based in Pleasantville, applied to the CRDA for a nearly $2.3 million loan to lease 24,000 square feet in the Sun National Bank building on Atlantic Avenue. The group plans to open corporate and clinical offices, urgent care services, a diagnostic center and a laboratory, according to the CRDA’s project summary. There also are plans for classroom and lab space at the site for a physician assistant program offered by Philadelphia University through The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
The CRDA gave preliminary, nonbinding approval for the project, which does not allocate any money but allows discussion to continue. Representatives from Stockton and Philadelphia University could not be reached late Tuesday to respond to questions regarding plans for the physician assistant program. The city’s master plan calls for the development of a district focusing on education and health care, the two concepts molded together in the Reliance Medical Group plan.
Atlantic City 3rd Ward Councilman Steven Moore, who attended the meeting, said the project is the type of public-private partnership needed to move the city forward.
“How glorious it will be to have an anchor project in the center of town,” Moore said.
Meanwhile, officials also authorized CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri to negotiate a lease agreement with Stockton and its Noyes Museum of Art based in Galloway Township. The museum plans to lease 16,300 square feet on the first floor of The Wave parking garage along Mississippi Avenue. The space, which will be outfitted using $2 million in the project’s fund balance, will include a gallery and cafe.
“We see the opportunity within that area to create a bona fide arts district. The retail space that we control would be a nice commitment to that initiative,” Palmieri said. “Having Noyes serve as an anchor, a gallery-and-museum-type anchor for other arts-type uses within that area on Mississippi Avenue is an important movement in the right direction.”
Not far away from the garage is Dante Hall Theater for the Arts, run by Stockton, which recently reopened, spurring conversations of a more active arts district — a concept that CRDA officials have said they hope to develop further.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the CRDA also voted to allot $6 million to projects the Atlantic City Alliance unveiled earlier this month. The alliance plans to produce a permanent 3-D video and light show on Boardwalk Hall’s facade, and plans to place art installations on several vacant lots in the city.
The board also authorized Palmieri to negotiate an agreement with Atlantic City for as much as $166,000 to bring a competitive basketball tournament to Boardwalk Hall in December. The tournament would feature teams from historically black colleges and universities. The money will be used for the services of On Point Marketing Inc., a sports marketing and promotions firm based in Greensboro, N.C.
Mayor Lorenzo Langford said he expects the tournament will draw between 6,000 and 8,000 people.
Contact Jennifer Bogdan:
Follow Jennifer Bogdan on Twitter @ACPressJennifer