The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved architectural and engineering plans for the Gateway project Tuesday.
Construction could begin this spring or summer and be completed in 2018, the project’s developer said.
Joseph Jingoli & Son will be the general contractor and construction manager of the $206 million project to be built in Atlantic City’s Chelsea section.
The Atlantic City Development Corp., which is developing the Gateway site, did not solicit bids prior to selecting Jingoli’s firm.
The Development Corp., a private company that uses public money for large-scale development, arranged financing for the 270,000-square-foot Gateway project, including as much as $145 million in bonds to be issued by the Atlantic County Improvement Authority, $17 million from the CRDA and tax breaks from the state Economic Development Authority.
Robert Mulcahy, chairman of the CRDA Board of Directors, said Tuesday that the CRDA has no authority to require competitive bidding from the Development Corporation.
“There’s a certain barrier between a public agency and a nonprofit,” he said. “We don’t have a right to tell ACDevCo as a nonprofit how they bid their project.”
The CRDA funds projects with tax dollars generated by Atlantic City casinos.
The Atlantic City Development Corp. chose Jingoli based on that firm’s performance on prior projects, such as the Honors College at Rutgers University, which was developed by the New Brunswick Development Corp., said Christopher Paladino, who heads both Development Corporations.
“We have broad experience with them,” he said. “They have the right match for us and we have confidence in them.”
Subcontracts for work at the Gateway site that are valued at more than $25,000 will be put to bid, Paladino said.
The Lawrenceville-based Jingoli firm and its subsidiaries build large projects, including the power plant used by Revel and the Atlantic County Criminal Courts Complex.
The firm is set to oversee construction of a Stockton University satellite campus at the foot of Albany Avenue, along with new headquarters for South Jersey Gas, which is moving its corporate offices from Folsom, and an 879-space parking garage.
Residents of condominiums near the site on Tuesday told the CRDA board that traffic plans for the area are alarmingly ill-equipped to handle an influx of construction workers, students and South Jersey Gas employees.
“You are going to add 1,000 cars and we are extremely concerned ... that you are going to have a dangerous situation here,” said Walter Broome, general manager of the Enclave Condominiums, which sits in the shadow of the site.
“It’s going to be a giant game of dodgeball,” he said.