A quarterly report on casino expansions, new recreational facilities and public projects that are among the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on development in southern New Jersey. Here's a look at some major projects.


Atlantic City

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Atlantic City added more than $1 billion worth of new hotel development in 2008, but the recession and global credit crisis put the brakes on billions more. Here's a snapshot of what has been completed, what is under construction and what is still stuck on the drawing board.

In business (opened in 2008):

Waterfront Tower: Soaring 525 high, the 44-story hotel gave Harrah's Resort bragging rights to the tallest building in Atlantic City.

Water Club: Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa's 800-room boutique hotel brought ultra-luxe lodging to the Marina District.

Chairman Tower: The sleek, 40-story hotel tower represented a dramatic facelift for Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort.

The Chelsea: The first luxury noncasino hotel to open on the Atlantic City Boardwalk since the 1960s made a splashy debut.

Courtyard by Marriott: An old Quality Inn was completely gutted and transformed into a more upscale 206-room Marriott.

In theory: Pinnacle Entertainment: Development of a $1.5 billion to $2 billion casino project on the former site of the Sands Casino Hotel is on "indefinite hold."

MGM Mirage: The country's second-largest gaming company has postponed plans for a massive $5 billion casino and hotel complex until the sagging economy picks up.

Bader Field: Atlantic City waits for redevelopment proposals for the 140-acre former airport site.

Atlantic Beach Resort & Casino: A development group that includes hotelier Curtis Bashaw and former casino CEO Wally Barr has delayed its proposed $1.5 billion project.

Penn National Gaming: The company said Thursday, Feb. 5, it is scrapping plans to build a "Borgata-like" attraction on a 23-acre site along the Route 30 corridor.



Barnegat interchange: The new full interchange in Barnegat Township, which will add a southbound entrance onto and northbound exit off of the Garden State Parkway, is still about a year and a half away from completion. In the next month or two, motorists should expect traffic disruptions as lanes shift on West Bay Avenue while crews expand the bridge there and do work near the Lighthouse Drive intersection.

Route 52: Route 52 causeway leading into Ocean City is on schedule and under budget thanks to cooperative weather that has not impeded the marine construction. The state will solicit bids in February for stage 2 of the $400 million transportation project, which will include demolition of the two drawbridges. One southbound lane into Ocean City remains closed.

Expressway Exit 20: The $8.6 million project to build a full interchange at Route 50 and the Atlantic City Expressway in Hamilton Township is on schedule.

Contractors are now in the coordination stage, getting ready to bring in heavy equipment and start moving earth in a few weeks.

The South Jersey Transportation Authority, which operates the expressway, awarded the contracts in October, saying the work would be complete in 18 months.

The work involves creating new eastbound and westbound access ramps, building retaining walls to minimize the effects on nearby wetlands and installing traffic signals where the ramps meet Route 50, ramp lighting, roadway drainage, infiltration systems and landscaping.

Delilah Road still to come: The project to rebuild the intersection of Delilah Road with Route 30 is about 80 percent completed, said Erin Phalon, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

The new bridges over the water mains, the railroad tracks and Route 30 are complete and crews are completing the approaches and parapets, Phalon said. Work on Route 30 continues as crews install medians and new drainage.

The project, which started Jan. 5, 2008, and was scheduled to take 15 months, replaces three substandard bridges that were built in the 1930s.

The road should reopen before Memorial Day, slightly ahead of schedule, Phalon said.


Commercial projects

Union Lake motels - Millville: Millville's Planning Board will vote on preliminary and final site plan approval for two hotels to be constructed in the city's north end.

Goodman Properties is expected, pending Planning Board approval, to sell between six and seven acres of land next to Route 55 and Delsea Drive, the main corridor connecting Vineland and Millville, to Latitude Hospitality Inc.

Latitude will build a Fairfield Inn and Suites and a TownPlace Suites. The hotels are expected to provide the city with 242 additional hotel rooms to the approximately 250 it has currently. No construction date has been set.

Four Corners project - Vineland: Developer Hans Lampart hopes to begin construction on the "Four Corners" redevelopment project in early spring.

Plans call for revamping all four corners of East and Landis avenues in downtown Vineland, which are currently dominated by the vacant Landis Theatre, a hotel used more commonly as permanent housing for low-income tenants and Sacred Heart High School. A fourth corner is fronted by a shop that was once a gas station that left some groundwater contamination. Some environmental cleanup may be required.

The high school is to be expanded, the theater renovated and the hotel and adjacent corner eventually replaced by senior housing and shops.

Lampart, who City Council named redeveloper in 2007, has yet to close on sales of each of the properties, but negotiations are ongoing.

Vineland Wal-Mart: Wal-Mart opened its store in Vineland on Jan. 21.

The store, which spans about 268,000 square feet on Landis Avenue near Delsea Drive, is expected to employ as many as 300 people, Vineland Director of Economic Development Jim Lelli said.

Wal-Mart invested $20 million in the project, which slowly plodded forth to completion this year.

Also, Capital Bank is expected to open its first branch right next to the store. The bank has the necessary city approvals to build.


Public projects

EHC High School: Cement slabs have been laid for Cedar Creek High School, the third high school of the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District, in Egg Harbor City. Steel beams are being delivered Tuesday to the 66-acre site at Duerer and Hamburg streets, district Superintendent Adam Pfeffer said. Construction of the $81.7 million school is expected to finish in the summer of 2010. The school would open that fall.

Cape May Convention Center: The city hired three engineering firms earlier this month to work with architect Kimmel-Bogrette on the new convention hall project.

Since voters approved the $10.5 million financing for the project in November, the city has been busy getting ready to apply for state permits. A CAFRA permit is needed to construct the new hall overlooking the ocean and to move the nearby city-owned Solarium to make room for the project.

The city is still hoping to demolish the old hall before the summer season and begin construction of the new hall before the end of the year. The goal is to open the new hall in 2010.

Buena Middle School: Construction of the new Buena Middle School is on schedule.

District Business Administrator Thomas Kearney said the walls of the school have been built and the roof attached. The school district believes it will keep its original completion date and open the school to children as early as January 2010.

The school will have 95,000 square feet of space accommodating 21 classrooms, science labs, small group instruction areas, a library media center, art, music, computer instructional areas, a gymnasium and auditorium in the one-story building.


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