ATLANTIC CITY — A planned data center inside the Atlantic City Convention Center has the potential to be an economic catalyst for South Jersey by opening up the region to industries beyond tourism, hospitality, casino gaming and agriculture.
Michael Tobin, CEO and co-founder of Continent 8, a U.K.-based network solutions and data center provider, said the nearly 6,000-square-foot data center that will be constructed this year will enable companies to connect to a global network through Atlantic City.
“Atlantic City presently lacks the proper technology to take advantage of these opportunities,” he said. “But there is lots of potential if this is executed properly.”
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Large data centers, such as the one planned for the Convention Center, house servers that transport internet traffic through a connected network and allow users to collect, store, process, distribute and access large amounts of data. The data centers provide users with enhanced security, increased connectivity and prevent loss of service through backup power supplies, qualities that are attractive to any company with customer data transactions.
Lauren Moore, executive director of the Atlantic County Economic Alliance, said the proposed data center is a “great opportunity” for the region to attract new businesses, such as software development, digital production and hardware support, that would spur economic growth. He said there is even potential for the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center in fields such as aviation security.
Barbara DeMarco, a Hammonton native and vice president of Porzio Governmental Affairs, a Trenton-based office of the law firm Porzio, Bromberg & Newman in Morristown, Morris County, said the region’s quality of life, reasonable taxes and proximity to Philadelphia and New York make South Jersey an attractive place to do business.
“This is a catalyst for activity that this area has never known,” DeMarco said.
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Continent 8 and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority are in the final stages of executing a 10-year lease for underutilized space in the back of the Convention Center that is not accessible to the public.
Continent 8 already operates smaller spaces, referred to as data rooms, in Caesars Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino used for transactions related to online gaming. With an existing presence in the city and a well-established international business reputation, CRDA Deputy Executive Director Marshall Spevak said the authority’s board did not need much convincing to see the viability of the partnership. The CRDA unanimously approved the terms of the lease in June, which will net the authority $101,000 annually in rent.
Tobin said the public-private partnership with CRDA marks the dawn of a “new age” for South Jersey.
“I’m thrilled for what this could mean for South Jersey,” he said, “and excited to be a part of a new era in Atlantic City.”