ATLANTIC CITY — A development group headed by former NBA standout Shaquille O’Neal has requested the CRDA provide funding for a multimillion-dollar residential and retail complex to be built in the resort’s South Inlet section.
Wasseem Boraie, vice president of Boraie Development Inc., presented the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority with preliminary plans for a $100 million project at Tuesday’s board meeting.
The authority is expected to vote on project approval, including a yet-to-be-disclosed fund reservation, at a future meeting, but its members said Tuesday they are excited about the potential partnership and what the project would bring to the city.
“It’s a project coming at the right time,” said CRDA board Vice Chairman Robert Mulcahy. “It’s part of an overall look that we, as a board, want to see in Atlantic City, and it certainly fits into the kind of mix we talked about here.”
The complex would include 250 residential rental units with luxury amenities such as a free parking garage, an outdoor swimming pool and a gym, as well as several retail businesses, including a Shaq Cityplex-branded urban movie theater and a supermarket.
The rental units would be financed at 80 percent market rate and 20 percent affordable housing rate, the latter to be determined by 50 percent of area median income, according to the proposal. At this rate, monthly rent for a one-bedroom unit would be about $1,000 and for a two-bedroom unit, about $1,200 to $1,400 per month.
“That means that police officers, firefighters, teachers are going to be able to qualify for a luxury building with a doorman,” Boraie said.
The development would be located in the area from Delaware to Connecticut avenues and Atlantic to Pacific avenues along a vacant city-owned tract, which is near Revel Casino-Hotel and Showboat Casino Hotel.
In a statement, Assemblyman Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, commended Boraie for its commitment to aid in the redevelopment of Atlantic City.
“It is easy for developers to shy away from urban centers, but Boraie wants to come to Atlantic City because of the leadership and vision of Gov. Christie, the commitment of the mayor and city council, and the financial incentives offered by EDA and CRDA,” Brown said. “It takes a combination of political leadership, an emphasis on making Atlantic City clean and safe, and the encouragement of public-private partnerships to transform a property that sat vacant for five decades. Shaquille O’Neal could invest his money anywhere in the world. Shaq chose Atlantic City because the efforts of many working together made his decision an easy layup.”
If the authority approves the project and the financing comes through, Boraie said, groundbreaking would take place in July or August 2014 and construction would take approximately 16 months to complete.
He said his company views the future of the South Inlet area as a place for young professionals.
“This is the area young people are going to populate, and I think this kind of product will also attract new restaurant and bar owners to the area,” he said. “In a small way, this will kind of remind you of South Beach in Florida.”
Ventnor resident Jason Forslund, 27, who was in attendance at the board meeting to voice his interest on another topic, said he would be interested in living in the complex himself.
“Projects like this really give people my age hope to want to stay here in this area,” Forslund said. “There’s a lot of rad places around the country that are doing cool things that make you think about moving, but if you can find the things here like surfing, skateboarding, you can really make this place comfortable.”
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