Skyplex polercoaster

ATLANTIC CITY — A plan to build a Polercoaster — a vertical roller coaster with a small physical footprint — on the Boardwalk parcel where the Sands casino once stood received Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approval last week.

The plan is to build a 350-foot coaster on about 1 acre bounded by the Boardwalk, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Mount Vernon and Kentucky avenues.

Ancillary businesses will include “a nightlife component,” Florida developer Joshua Wallack said Thursday.

“We’re obviously going to have a bar there,” Wallack said.

The project will be at least partly financed by Chinese investors through the federal government’s EB-5 Visa program, which grants green cards to foreigners who invest in the United States, he said.

Wallack declined to comment on whether he wants CRDA funding for it. He said negotiations with state and local officials are in early stages.

Earlier this month, Florida officials approved his plan to build a $500 million Skyplex amusement and hotel complex, with the world’s tallest roller coaster, on International Drive, a tourism and entertainment district that sits within and outside Orlando, Florida. Last week, he opened a 55,000-square-foot nightclub and restaurant, Mango’s Tropical Cafe, in the district.

He declined to elaborate on his timeframe for completing the Boardwalk Polercoaster. “Obviously we want to open it as quickly as possible,” he said.

At the Steel Pier, not far from the Sands site, an observation wheel about 200 feet high will be erected in 2016, the pier’s president recently said. And Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein said The Playground, a retail and entertainment complex adjacent to Caesars Atlantic City, is ramping up operations.

Wallack said: “I’m very excited about all of it. This is exactly what the Boardwalk needs. It needs critical mass.

“This critical mass, in the right way, in the right market, gives you life again.”

Contact: 609-272-7239

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