Atlantic City residents got their first look at a $75 million South Inlet redevelopment project courtesy of a city councilman’s Facebook page Friday.
The project by Shaquille O’Neal partner Boraie Development would bring a movie theater, grocery store and 200-unit, mixed-income housing development to a portion of the city’s South Inlet that has been vacant for about 50 years.
Plans for the 7.9-acre lot were first announced in October, but renderings provided to the Atlantic City Housing Authority by Boraie were just released by Councilman Marty Small.
“I’m putting it out there to the residents of Atlantic City to show we mean business,” Small said of posting the pictures to his Facebook page.
The centerpiece of the project is a Cityplex movie theater that would go on the corner of South Connecticut and Pacific avenues. There would also be a 60,000-square-foot supermarket fronting Atlantic Avenue, the renderings show. Above the store would be apartments.
Which supermarket would fill that first-floor vacancy is not yet known, but Small said several companies are “vying for the opportunity.”
“When you look at that section of Atlantic City, it’s going to revitalize that part of Atlantic Avenue,” Small said. “It will transform Atlantic City and give our residents some options that they’ve been longing for.”
City Council approved the plan at its May 8 meeting, but a signed agreement still has not been completed.
“We’re waiting on the Housing Authority,” Small said.
The authority’s executive director, Pam James, did not return requests for comment Friday.
“This project is a shining example of urban community development at its best,” Mayor Lorenzo Langford previously said of the plans. “(Boraie brings) to Atlantic City the knowledge, expertise and capital necessary to create a new, vibrant community.”
City Planning and Development Director Keith Mills has said the company is expected to fund the project, but that does not rule out some sort of public-financing deal in the future.
The first part of the plan would be to develop a residential base to live in the planned high-rise. Commercial development would follow.
Small pointed out that the plan would put the long-empty area between Delaware and Connecticut avenues to use, bringing in ratables — and jobs.
“The supermarket alone will employ 150 people,” he said. “We will definitely push for Atlantic City first. Atlantic City residents will get the first opportunity for these jobs.”
When council approved the plan, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority spokeswoman Kim Butler said the agency is excited about any redevelopment plans in that area and was looking forward to seeing the plans. She said Friday that the CRDA would have no further comment at this time.
Despite other promised projects for the site having fallen through over the years, city leaders are optimistic this will come to fruition.
Company Vice President Wasseem Boraie has said the groundbreaking should be by the end of the year.
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