ATLANTIC CITY — In just four months, several empty lots lining Albany Avenue have been transformed into the outline of what will become Stockton University’s Atlantic City campus and a six-story South Jersey Gas office.
“We’re on schedule and we’re moving right along,” Stockton University Project Manager Mark Ciccotelli said during a tour of the $220 million Atlantic City Gateway Project last week.
The project is scheduled to be open for the fall 2018 semester.
The steel structure for the 200,000-square-foot beachfront residential building is visible from the beach several blocks away, and a parking garage next door is nearing completion.
“It’s impressive. I drive in every day along Albany Avenue and I can’t get over how much it changes on a daily basis,” said Brian Jackson, chief operating officer for Stockton’s Atlantic City campus.
He said that as the excitement builds, the college is giving more tours of the campus to faculty, staff and students leaders who have arrived back to campus.
“There’s a lot of interest, and we anticipate this coming spring that we will really kick into high gear as far as marketing the campus,” Jackson said.
When complete, the complex will house 533 students and 15,000 square feet of retail space along the Boardwalk and on Atlantic Avenue, as well as a fitness center. Jackson said they have been in contact with local, regional, and national restaurateurs to develop the retail space.
“The two boardwalk spaces we’re targeting for a coffee shop, as well as a restaurant,” he said.
Stockton’s $178.3 million Atlantic City campus facing Albany and Trenton avenues will also include a 56,000-square-foot academic building with three floors, 14 classrooms and computer labs, a 3,000-square-foot event room, and a café with outdoor seating.
Academic offerings at the campus will include business, hospitality and tourism, social work, organizational leadership, and — by 2019 — a new community leadership and civic engagement major, which Jackson said is under development.
He said that Stockton anticipates its Atlantic City campus becoming a year-round experience.
“So there will be courses offered during the summer. We anticipate really beefing up our continuing (education) options, as well, and for those students who would like to live in Atlantic City during the summer time, the housing here could be an option for them,” Jackson said. “Who wouldn’t want to live by the beach during the summer, as well as have the experience of working here along the shore.”
The renderings of the campus, projected Wednesday on television screens over the Atlantic City Boardwalk during the annual Air Show, show bustling and modern buildings with tree lined sidewalks against the backdrop of blue skies and waves.
“The sheer magnificence of this project is coming into sharper focus each and every day, and the enthusiasm and excitement surrounding its development is palpable. As president, I could not be more thrilled,” said Stockton University President Harvey Kesselman.
Last month, Kesselman announced that the college received funding from the state for an additional 168 staff in 2018 for the Atlantic City campus.
“This represents the largest increase in our central appropriation in Stockton’s history and equates to an additional $4 million to our FY18 operating budget,” Kesselman said.
Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said the Gateway Project is a key component of Atlantic City’s rebirth.
“It is moving forward very quickly and will be a tremendous anchor for us. It’s good for Atlantic City for so many reasons to have cranes in the sky and building a wonderful foundation for our incoming Stockton students. It has been a long road since 2014 when I helped convince Stockton to come to Atlantic City and not Manahawkin. All of our hard work is really starting to pay off,” Guardian said.
Rowan University also has major redevelopment underway at its $350 million Rowan Boulevard project. This week, the college held a grand opening for two new student buildings and luxury apartments in downtown Glassboro.
The privately funded partnership between Rowan, developers and the Borough of Glassboro consists of a corridor lined with shops, restaurants and medical providers at street level with housing, offices and classrooms above.
Also a public-private partnership, the project links Rowan University with Glassboro’s retail district along High Street via Rowan Boulevard with anchors including student apartments, a Barnes & Noble superstore and a Courtyard by Marriott hotel and conference center.