ATLANTIC CITY - Those looking for a sneak peek of how the city might look under more state control could get it later this month.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority will unveil its plan to revitalize the city's Downtown area at an investment conference April 13, less than a week before the state agency finalizes the boundaries of a Tourism District.
Dubbed the "Atlantic City Investment Forum: Revitalizing the City, Repositioning the Resort," the event is hosted by the CRDA and will feature its developmental plan for the Downtown section. Much of the authority's plan could be part of the highly-anticipated master plan for the resort's new state-run district, which will begin to be crafted after the district's boundaries are set.
"We saw this as a perfect time given all these changes," said Jeremy Sunkett, the authority's director of project management. "We're in a unique position to facilitate this conversation."
The CRDA, charged with running the Tourism District, hopes to develop the Downtown section to establish Atlantic City as one of New Jersey's key urban centers. With that goal in mind, Sunkett said the forum will likely center more on non-gaming development.
"A lot of these conversations are often led by the gaming piece," Sunkett said Saturday. "We didn't want to do that with this event."
The event will feature a panel of speakers, a mixture of local stakeholders, potential Atlantic City investors and development officials outside of the area. The list of confirmed guests includes Herman Saatkamp Jr., president of The Richard Stockton College, Chris Paladino, president of the New Brunswick Development Corporation, Robert E. Mulcahy III, a member of the governor's Advisory Commission on New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment and multiple local casino executives.
CRDA officials have also invited Gov. Chris Christie to speak at the event, but have yet to confirm his attendance. With the exception of a possible address from Christie, Sunkett said the event will be largely conversational, rather than the grand speeches and PowerPoint presentations commonly seen at similar forums.
The panelists will discuss five topics: institutions as economic drivers; the economic and social impact of arts and cultural development; entertainment and tourism; a market perspective beyond gaming and Atlantic City's future role in the region.
"These aren't new conversations, but they're new to Atlantic City," Sunkett said.
Atlantic City is seeing a lot of firsts as it prepares to usher in a governmental structure designed to revitalize its slumping tourism industry.
In February, Christie signed legislation to create a Tourism District in the resort. The CRDA will control planning and zoning within the section, which will consist of most of the high-traffic tourism areas in the city.
Contact Michael Clark:
If you go
What: Atlantic City Investment Forum: Revitalizing the City, Repositioning the Resort
When: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 13
Where: The Atlantic City Convention Center, 1 Convention Blvd., Atlantic City