Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation today to create an Atlantic City Tourism District and announced a breakthrough in the Revel Casino project.
Governor Chris Christie signed two bills today (Feb 1) in a ceremony at the Revel Casino construction site designed to help the Atlantic City’s struggling casino industry and create a state-run tourism district in the resort.
Christie also announced a deal that includes state economic development tax breaks to get the stalled Revel project moving again, with a possible opening in June 2012.
“The challenges faced today by the Atlantic City tourism and gaming industries have been a long time in the making, and significant steps are needed to stop the decline and set a new course of economic growth, job creation and return Atlantic City to the ranks of the best destinations in the world. But, it can and must be done for the economic health of New Jersey as a whole,” said Governor Christie. “Since we announced our plan for reform just over six months ago, we have already taken steps to secure that future – to stabilize the City’s finances and create jobs through new business investment. Today, we are going much further to signal to businesses, to the public and to the people who call Atlantic City home that a new, brighter and more prosperous future is coming again.”
The deal involving Revel includes $260 million in tax-increment funds approved by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to support infrastructure improvements surrounding the project.
Christie also announced that developers of the casino are close to securing another $1.15 billion to restart the project. The state would become a 20 percent “partner” in the casino, Christie said, but details of that partnership were not released.
However, a statement from the Governor’s office outlines a new policy from the authority requiring as a condition of any tax increment financing package of $50 million or more, including the Revel financing, that the state receive success reimbursement payments from the project commensurate with the extent of state financial participation
Those payments from Revel would start after the casino opens.
Also on the agenda was the signing of a bill to create the state run tourism district. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority would takeover the running of the district, which includes the Boardwalk casino zone, the Marina District, the Walk retail outlets and Bader Field.
Within the territorial limits of the tourism district, CRDA will be authorized to establish land use regulations, implement a tourism district master plan, promote public health and safety initiatives, advance commercial development, undertake redevelopment projects and institute infrastructure improvements, according to the Governor’s office.
The bill also provides for the merger of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority into CRDA.
Monday, Christie vetoed the minutes of the visitor’s authority’s last meeting, saying he didn’t want to limit options under the new plan. That veto essentially vetoed the ACCVA’s budget and marketing budget, among other actions.
The bill also directs the Attorney General and Superintendent of State Police, in consultation with the Mayor of Atlantic City and municipal law enforcement officials, to develop a public safety plan for Atlantic City to be implemented by a District Commander appointed by the Superintendent.
CRDA will also enter into a public-private partnership with a not-for-profit consisting of a majority of New Jersey casino licensees, through which they will commit funds totaling $30 million annually for the development and implementation of a marketing program aimed at promoting Atlantic City.
The Casino Association of New Jersey has already formed such an organization, according to the Governor’s office.
The second bill reforms the state’s regulatory structure for casinos by modernizing, streamlining, and eliminating duplication in the regulatory statutes, many of which were authored more than 30 years ago, according to the Governor’s office.
Under the bill, the Casino Control Commission is assigned the lead role in initial casino licensing matters as well as in adjudicating regulatory disputes. The Division of Gaming Enforcement is charged with focusing on the day-to-day regulation of all casino operations.
Christie signed the bill as more than 100 onlookers and officials attended, but Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford was not among them. Langford and city officials oppose parts of the plan and feel local officials have been left out of the planning process.
One published report had Christie calling the Mayor’s action “grandstanding.”
On Tuesday morning, April 9, the ACA, CRDA and ACCVA teamed up for a presentation at the Sheraton to unveil new DO AC spring/summer campaign and highlight other new initiatives in the city from Margaritaville to Revel's new beach bar. Watch the new ad videos here.
"We think we have the money set aside. We've identified the funding. We believe we have a good site but we may determine that there are other sites that we need to review as well."
From Pop Lloyd to Pattie Harris to Nucky Johnson and the Northside, not to mention Nina Simone and Sam Cooke and other entertainers' connections to Atlantic City and region.
'There's so much that's going on that's good and it really has enabled us to build a campaign that is very positive and is very upbeat and that does really talk to all of the really positive things that are going on.'
“The master plan is designed to breathe new life into this historic coastal playground and transform the city into a highly desirable place to live, work, play and visit."
"It was a little bit of a culture shock coming from Las Vegas, as you can imagine. But then when I actually spent some time [in Atlantic City] and spent some time in competitors' casinos, I was pleasantly surprised and I feel that, you know, being involved in Revel is a very exciting piece of history for Atlantic City and I think will change how people look and perceive the market."
One year to the date Gov. Chris Christie signed landmark legislation designed to revitalize Atlantic City and set the surrounding region on a new course for economic growth, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) adopted the Atlantic City Tourism District Master Plan in a special meeting Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the A.C. Convention Center.
"There are those that don’t believe the Atlantic City fathers are capable of handling this business. And again, that speaks to a level of arrogance and it also speaks to an underlying air of racism — point blank, as I’ve pointed out."
Recent developments in Atlantic City have left the city in a good news/bad news cycle that leaves both room for hope and pessimism in the city at the same time.
Gov. Chris Christie this week expressed support for the referendum, which would allow sports betting at New Jersey casinos and horse tracks.
The perception is that it’s all about gaming [in Atlantic City]. And clearly it’s much more than that so that’s the opportunity, to make sure that doesn’t happen."
Washington, DC tells us the recession is over, when many of us seem to be living through a depression. We hear from politicians at all levels what they are doing for us, when many of us seem to think they are the problem. Americans want to go home again. We remember and long for a simpler time and better place… the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The funds will be used to acquire real estate that CRDA feels is strategically important to the redevelopment of Downtown Atlantic City.
“This is about jobs, it’s about getting people back to work, it’s about bringing this city back into where it feels, once again, like the preeminent entertainment resort on the East Coast."
In preparation for the shore’s busiest season, the region’s business leaders rose bright and early on Wednesday morning, May 11, to attend the third annual “Jersey Shorecast,” an event — sponsored by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming Hospitality & Tourism at The Richard Stockton College — which, attempts to prognosticate the financial success of Atlantic City’s summer season.
Plus the latest on the map of the Atlantic City Tourism District, DrewToonz takes on Snooki and the Situation (and the Jersey Shore), and the Album of the Week: Emmylou Harris' 'Hard Bargain'
New rules from the DGE eliminate the requirements for table games supervisors such as pit bosses and provide casinos with more flexibility in staffing
Gov. Chris Christie says the bill could have expanded gambling in the state outside of Atlantic City and opposed a provision for a subsidy to the horse-racing industry
"Revel Entertainment said Thursday that it has secured the final $1 billion-plus it needs to finish its half-built casino on the Atlantic City Boardwalk."
Watch the video of Atlantic City Mayor Langford on CNN Nov. 1 accusing Gov. Christie of a 'double standard.'
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