ATLANTIC CITY — While the summer of 2018 is expected to transform the city with the opening of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Stockton University’s Gateway project, this summer was supposed to bring the opening of several small projects, but many failed to materialize.
From a beer garden on the Boardwalk to the Tennessee Avenue Transformation project, several projects expected to open this summer were put on hold for various reasons.
Mark Callazzo, a partner in the Tennessee Avenue project, said he wanted to open during the summer but decided it would be in their best interest to wait a couple of months.
The Tennessee Avenue project, now expected to open in October, will feature a yoga studio, coffee shop, beer garden and chocolate bar.
“We did get pushed back,” said Callazzo, CEO of Alpha Funding Solutions and owner of the Iron Room restaurant in the city’s Chelsea section, adding that construction on the project has already started. “We didn’t want to just open one concept, we wanted to get four concepts going at once. It’s an island to itself over there.”
Despite the delays, the new projects are going to serve as a catalyst for the city, Mayor Don Guardian said.
“Evan Sanchez, Mark Callazzo and their teams are some of the most creative entrepreneurs I have met,” Guardian said. “This will be a great complement to the already established Irish Pub and Pic-A-Lilli Pub.”
A beer garden on the Boardwalk between South California and South Belmont avenues also has yet to open, despite promises of a debut around July 4.
Nick Dounoulis, owner of the Bungalow Beach and proposed beach bar, said permitting issues prohibited them from opening July 4.
“There is no way we will be open this summer,” Dounoulis said. “We are hoping to open for the spring.”
The Steel Pier’s Observation Wheel is expected to open around Labor Day weekend, said Anthony Catanoso, owner of the pier.
“We had hope to get it opened a little earlier, but there was just too much to do,” Catanoso said.
While some projects failed to come to fruition, Pier AC has bucked that trend.
Pier AC, sitting at the old Garden Pier between the Showboat Atlantic City hotel and the former Revel Casino Hotel, opened last week.
The space at New Jersey Avenue and the Boardwalk is an outdoor entertainment environment with a bar, stage and seating area that look toward the ocean, said Jersey Boyz Production managing partner Rob Erickson, a managing partner for Pier AC.
“It has been a steady increase every day,” he said. “We’re really getting local support.”
Pier AC’s first phase includes a stage for live music, a bar in the center with a dance floor around it, couches, Adirondack chairs, games and tables with umbrellas. Phases 2 and 3 of the project will involve building and rebuilding the rest of the 55,000-square-foot pier.
Callazzo said the opening of Hard Rock and Stockton’s gateway may have caused some to hold off.
“On the business side, a lot of people are waiting on the sidelines until Stockton gets a little closer. If you are going to open a college bar, you are not going to want to open it three months from now, you are going to wait till it gets closer,” Callazzo said. “You are going to want to open it 12 months from now. I do think a lot of things are in a holding pattern.”
Staff Writer Erin Serpico contributed to this report.