When Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville lands at Resorts Casino Hotel next year, it will be a one of a kind operation for the region, attorney Nick Talvacchia said at a Casino Reinvestment Development Authority public hearing Monday.
The company’s radius restrictions dictate that there cannot be another Margaritaville-brand operation within 200 miles of the planned Atlantic City location. That should prevent any dilution of the brand, said Talvacchia, of Cooper Levenson, the firm representing Resorts in the project.
“That’s important because based on internal surveys of Margaritaville, a substantial amount of their customer base is actually from the mid-Atlantic states — Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and New Jersey,” Talvacchia said. “It’s an underserved, in fact, not a served market at all. They have evidence of people traveling great distances to go to other Margaritavilles.”
Currently, the franchise does not have any locations in the mid-Atlantic region.
The nearest is located about 255 miles away at the Mohegan Sun casino resort in Uncasville, Conn. Earlier this month, Resorts announced it struck a deal with Mohegan Sun to become part owner and manager of the Resorts property.
Talvacchia and Tom Sykes, of SOSH Architects, spoke about the project Monday in a public hearing required to take place before CRDA decides whether to allocate funding for the project.
In July, CRDA took the first steps toward approving $12.5 million in financial assistance for the $35.5 million island-themed expansion project that will include a rebuilding of Steeplechase Pier with a Margaritaville LandShark Bar & Grill.
A Margaritaville Cafe, a Five O’Clock Somewhere bar and Margaritaville-themed gaming are also planned inside the casino.
CRDA Deputy Executive Director Susan Ney Thompson said the measure will go to the full board for a final vote Aug. 21. Discussions are continuing regarding the total amount of funding requested, she said.
Resorts also applied to the state Economic Development Authority in July for grant financing under the state’s Economic Redevelopment and Growth program.
According to a copy of the application obtained through an Open Public Records Act request, the maximum amount Resorts could receive from the EDA would be $8.6 million.
The application to the state also spoke about the popularity of the Margaritaville brand in the mid-Atlantic region.
Margaritaville customers are generally between the ages of 35 and 64 and are split evenly between males and females. More than 60 percent have college or graduate degrees, and 39 percent have household incomes greater than $100,000.
Construction is set to begin by the second week of September pending state, city and CRDA approvals. Both restaurants, bar and themed gambling area should be complete before Memorial Day 2013, Talvacchia said.
The project is expected to generate 238 construction jobs, 45 professional temporary jobs and 162 permanent jobs.
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