Revel Entertainment Group's $2 billion project continues to take shape despite funding shortages that have slowed construction on what will be Atlantic City's 12th casino.
Construction on the 47-story hotel tower overlooking the Boardwalk has reached the 28th floor. When completed, the 1,900-room hotel will soar more than 700 feet high, easily making it the tallest building in town.
Structural steel is being erected for other parts of the project and should be finished within several months, as will the 7,800-space parking garage.
Revel announced in January that it would temporarily halt all interior work to stretch out the cash it has on hand while it searches for a permanent source of funding. Once it resumes construction on the interior, it is expected to take 16 or 17 months to complete. In the meantime, the hoped-for grand opening date of summer 2010 has been pushed back indefinitely.
Penn National Gaming Inc., one of the few prosperous companies in the troubled gaming industry, has abandoned plans to develop a casino on barren property along the Route 30 entryway.
Last year, Penn said it wanted to build a lavish project in a new casino zone on the outskirts of town, far away from the existing gaming halls on the Boardwalk and in the Marina District. But the company announced in February that the recession, Atlantic City's withering casino market and intense competition from Pennsylvania's slot parlors had caused it to scrap its plans.
"That's nothing but bad, bad, bad news for Atlantic City," Penn Chairman Peter M. Carlino said of the economic forces lining up against the city.
In another blow to the casino industry, Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. has conceded that its proposed $1.5 billion megaresort likely will never be built and it will probably sell the oceanfront development site.
Pinnacle imploded the old Sands Casino Hotel in October 2007 to create room for its project, but it appears to be giving up on the venture because of the faltering economy and global credit crisis.
Dan Lee, the company's chairman, told analysts in March that Pinnacle was "dreaming" to believe that it could build a Las Vegas-style casino in the heart of the Boardwalk.
"Obviously, with 20-20 hindsight, I wish we didn't buy the land in Atlantic City," he said.
Delilah Road reopening: The reconstruction of the Delilah Road intersection at Route 30 near the Pleasantville-Absecon border is about 86 percent complete, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Erin Phalon said, and the road remains on pace to reopen by Memorial Day weekend. Three old bridges are being replaced.
Upcoming work will include paving and guardrail installation, Phalon said. Landscaping and other work should continue through October. The project started in January 2008.
Route 52: George Harms Construction is nearly finished the first half of construction on the new $400 million causeway leading into Ocean City. The state is soliciting bids now on the second half of construction, which is slated to begin in June.
Besides the new twin spans linking Somers Point and the resort, the project will replace the Somers Point traffic circle and add a new Welcome Center.
Expressway interchange in Hamilton: Work crews are clearing land around the Route 50-Atlantic City Expressway interchange in Hamilton Township as part of an $8 million project to build a full interchange. The clearing is necessary to make room for ramps and other improvements. Officials say the project remains on schedule.
The South Jersey Transportation Authority, which operates the expressway, awarded the contracts in October, saying the work would take 18 months to complete.
Parkway interchange in Barnegat: A new southbound exit ramp on the Garden State Parkway in Barnegat Township will open before the end of this month in the ongoing $25.5 million project to redesign Exit 67. The new exit will replace the existing one that connects parkway drivers with West Bay Avenue. It will be farther south than the current off-ramp and will direct drivers to Lighthouse Drive. A new southbound entrance onto the parkway from Lighthouse Drive also will open sometime afterward.
The expansion of the West Bay Avenue bridge and new northbound parkway exit are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
EHC High School: The construction of Cedar Creek High School is on schedule in Egg Harbor City.
Tom Grossi, business administrator for the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District, said steel work at the 66-acre site at Duerer Street and Hamburg Avenue is continuing, while block work began a few weeks ago and concrete for the $65.4 million facility's second floor has already started to be poured.
"The next phase will be finishing up the block work to enclose the building so they could start working on the inside," Grossi said. "That should happen within the next six months."
The project, which broke ground in October, is scheduled to be completed in time to welcome students in September 2010.
Buena Middle School: The Buena Regional school district's new middle school is on schedule to open in January, district officials said.
The roof and walls of the school have been erected and construction has begun on the inside of the building. The middle school is for students grades 6 to 8.
Ocean County Jail: Demolition and foundation work for the $52 million expanded jail complex in Toms River is now complete, and next month pre-fabricated holding cells will be trucked in and installed at the site. These units will take about two months to install, and crews also will be finishing utility work during that time.
The project is set for completion in late 2010.
Shore Memorial Hospital: Construction continues on Shore Memorial Hospital's new $50 million to $75 million surgery wing, the first part of an estimated $120 million expansion of the Somers Point facility that is set to include a new parking garage and medical office building.
The three-story, 130,000-square-foot surgery wing will contain 12 new operating rooms, three "interventional" suites, three endoscopy suites, and sterile processing and pre-admission testing areas.
Hospital CEO Al Gutierrez has said that construction of the new wing will take about 2½ years. The medical office building will start to go up eight months before the surgery wing is completed, and the 1,000-space, six-tier parking garage will begin to rise two months later.
Landis Theater: Construction on the Landis Theater in Vineland is under way, with contractors hollowing out the dilapidated building and beginning restoration efforts.
Developer Hans Lampart estimates completion by December and is in discussions with the owner of Andrea's restaurant in Newfield about opening a similar restaurant next door to the theater.
Cancer Center: AtlantiCare broke ground about a year ago on The Cancer Care Institute in its Health Park on English Creek Avenue in Egg Harbor Township. The two-story, 39,600-square-foot facility is expected to open this summer.
In addition to offering state-of-the-art radiation therapy, the new center will feature different areas designated by Zen garden, beach, neighborhood and woodlands themes. AtlantiCare is constructing the Cancer Care Center with a goal of achieving the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification.