ATLANTIC CITY — The developers of the Stockton Gateway Project believe a planned dormitory expansion will create an authentic college atmosphere around O’Donnell Memorial Park.

The Atlantic City Development Corp., or AC Devco, outlined the second phase of its $62 million proposal as a courtesy review to the city’s Planning Board on Tuesday.

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has land-use and zoning authority over the city’s defined Tourism District, which includes both the current Stockton University campus and the proposed expansion site.

Jon Barnhart, a planner and engineer with Arthur W. Ponzio Co. & Associates, told the board the intent of the project was to “develop a campus setting around the park,” which would create a “true university feel.”

AC Devco intends to convert the former Eldridge Building, between Atlantic, South Hartford and South Providence avenues, into a six-story, 105-unit dormitory with the potential for retail space on the ground floor. The building would provide living space for 405 students.

Barbara Woolley-Dillon, Atlantic City’s director of planning and development, said she reviewed the proposal along with Mayor Frank Gilliam Jr. prior to Tuesday’s presentation.

“We’re pleased to see development,” she said. “The partnership with AC Devco has worked well, and we appreciate their continued support of Atlantic City.”

Christopher Paladino, president of AC Devco, said an application will be submitted to the CRDA for a land-use hearing, scheduled for April 18. He said the application will seek preliminary and final site plan approval for the project.

Stockton and AC Devco have not signed an agreement, which university President Harvey Kesselman has said is dependent on securing funding for the project.

Paladino said he hopes to begin construction in September. The project could be completed by September 2021.

The former Eldridge building will be demolished as part of the project.

There was a strong demand for Atlantic City campus housing this year. Of the more than 500 students living in the city’s residential building, 100 of those have committed to 12-month leases. Housing applications for the fall are currently being accepted.

The new building would sit adjacent to Stockton’s Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism as well as the parking garage of the former Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, which Stockton had considered buying over the summer. That deal never went through.

The proposed expansion project does not include additional parking. The parking garage that was constructed for the first phase of the Gateway Project has about 800 parking spaces. Nearly 200 of those spaces are reserved for employees of South Jersey Gas, whose headquarters were relocated to Atlantic City as part of the initial project.

Staff Writer Claire Lowe contributed to this report.

This story has been updated with the proposed demolition of the former Eldridge Building.

Contact: 609-272-7222 Twitter @ACPressDanzis

Staff Writer

I cover Atlantic City government and the casino industry since joining The Press in early 2018. I formerly worked as a politics & government reporter for NJ Herald and received the First Amendment: Art Weissman Memorial NJPA Award two years in a row.

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