ATLANTIC CITY — The rebirth of Tennessee Avenue is moving along, officials said this week.
Three more businesses, including a coffee shop, chocolate bar and beer hall, are aiming to open in the next few months.
“The vision of Tennessee Avenue is to build a better block for a better city,” said Evan Sanchez, of Authentic City Partners, which is leading the project.
Sanchez, along with stakeholders and business owners in the project, gathered Wednesday in front of about 50 people for Atlantic City’s first monthly “planning and development update” presented by Councilman Kaleem Shabazz.
The meetings take the place of the monthly “Noon Time Talks” series held by former Planning and Development Director Elizabeth Terenik. Shabazz said he will hold the update events every fourth Wednesday of the month in City Hall and will focus on a different topic each time.
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This month’s focus was on the development of the Tennessee Avenue “renaissance.”
The project was launched in February 2017 when Alpha Funding Solutions CEO and Iron Room Restaurant owner Mark Callazzo partnered with Authentic to bring restaurants, bars and store concepts to the block between Pacific Avenue and the Boardwalk.
In October, The Leadership Studio, a yoga and community studio, was the first business as part of the project to officially open. Other shops expected to open within the next few months include MADE Atlantic City Chocolate Bar, which is a bean-to-bar shop with hand-selected cocoa beans and chocolate that can be paired with glasses of wine, the Hayday coffee shop and the Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall.
“Tennessee Avenue is an avenue that’s in distress,“ Shabazz said, saying the city wants the same type of transformation that took place for Brown’s Park. “We want to turn that area around and restore it back to an area where people can enjoy themselves.”
The chocolate bar is expected to open in a few weeks, organizers said. Loryn Simonsen, a co-founder of HayDay coffee shop, said her shop is under construction and will open in the next few months.
Hayday will bring a concept that’s unique for the city and create a community space where people can gather, she said.
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Scott Cronick, a partner working on the Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall and also the director of entertainment publications for The Press of Atlantic City, spoke of the vision for the hall and the goal to bring a connector from the Boardwalk to Pacific Avenue.
He said the beer hall will have a Monopoly theme and will include food, drinks and entertainment, including arcades and game nights.
The Tennessee Avenue project is not without its challenges. Organizers wanted to wait past the summer to get several concepts in development before launching one, and the storefronts, including the Leadership Studio, have been undergoing construction and improvements to open this year.
“It can happen,” Shabazz said.