In this economic climate, optimism about Atlantic City’s future can swing as wildly as the stock market does on each little bit of economic news.
The city still faces growing out-of-state competition, gaming revenues are still down and the country’s persistent economic problems are keeping any tourists destination’s hopes for a rebound low.
But at the same time new projects are being built and planned in the city, new attractions are being announced and CRDA’s shepherding of the city’s tourist district may finally be picking up a little steam.
After a five-year slump maybe this is the year the city finally turns things around.
Here are the top 10 reasons we’re bullish on Atlantic City’s 2012.
1: Revel Casino — It hasn’t exactly been a cakewalk for this project, which hit some serious economic snags a couple years ago and still has some of the city’s struggling casinos shaking in their boots, but come May (and possibly earlier) the city should see the opening of this $2.5 billion project. If there’s anything that’s certain in the casino gambling industry, it’s that new is better and a project like this will pump much needed life into the resort.
2: Hard Rock Casino — The south Boardwalk casino, which hopes to break ground in July, will initially have only about 200 rooms, but could eventually expand to 850 rooms. In the meantime, however, the casino has announced that it plans to build a museum to house and display the Hard Rock brand’s impressive collection of rock memorabilia.
3: Golden Nugget — The Golden Nugget has slowly been transforming the former Trump Marina property since taking over the property last spring. It’s a $150 million refurbishing and rebranding of the casino and soon, the Golden Nugget name will even be part of the city’s skyline.
4: Steel Pier — Now under the control of the Catanoso family and partner Paul Steelman, the city’s only amusement pier is slated for a major upgrade. The owners say we can expect seven or eight new attractions by summer and eventually the Steel Pier will become a year-round facility.
5: CRDA Master Plan — It’s been more than 18 months since N.J. Gov. Chris Christie stood on the Atlantic City Boardwalk and pledged the state’s support for revitalizing the city and creating a state-run Tourism District. Well, these things take time, but the zone is created, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is in charge and in February the CRDA will release a master plan outlining the goals for the new district. READ: Interview with CRDA head John Palmieri.
6: They’re Still Open — Rumors of the imminent demise of several resort casinos have been rampant for the last few years, but the city hasn’t seen a casino actually close its doors since the Sands closed in 2006, before the economy tanked. The former Atlantic City Hilton, now ACH, just announced a plan to keep its doors open and pump about $25 million into the property. And after one year under new ownership, Resorts is still struggling but showing signs of a resurgence.
7: Atlantic City Alliance — The new non-profit group, with a $30 million budget, is tasked with rebranding and developing a new marketing strategy for the city. READ: Interview with ACA CEO Liza Cartmell.
8: Tanger Outlets/The Walk — Plans continue to expand the city’s central shopping district, now under the control of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers. Phase IV of The Walk calls for a focus on nightlife including restaurants, live entertainment, bars and nightclubs. Also, a new parking garage serving the Walk and the Convention Center is scheduled to open early next year.
9: Garden Pier — The home of the under-appreciated city arts and historical museum will get a $1 million reconstruction from Revel and the CRDA will demolish the pier’s dilapidated back end.
Although A.C. tourism has taken a well-publicized hit based on increased competition elsewhere, funnel cake continues to enhance the saltwater air, rolling chairs move like motorized vehicles, and the resort continues to offer amenities that landlocked gambling boxes simply cannot.
The ACA is developing a broad-based media campaign program with the intention of reaching as much as the Northeast as possible, from Boston down to Washington, D.C. It is expected to begin in mid-April.
“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."
The city’s 11 casinos posted a 4.2 percent revenue increase in December, the first monthly revenue increase since August 2008.
Some of the major changes during 2011 included the restart of construction on the Revel project, with a 2012 opening date slated. (Some predict it may open ...
Aside from calling, writing, e-mailing, or using a new Web site the CRDA says is in development for users to share ideas, as well as offer new ideas and projects, there are public CRDA meetings (on the third Tuesday of every month; the next one is Nov. 15) that you can attend to vocalize your support for certain projects or offer new ideas.
Atlantic City residents filled the Westside Complex auditorium to offer input to Susan Ney Thompson, interim director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), as they prepare to take over many functions of Atlantic City's municipal government.
Transformation — It's a buzz word that only refers to the overall vision of Landry's Inc., the parent company of Golden Nugget, but also ties in nicely with the major shifts taking shape in Atlantic City as a whole.
ATLANTIC CITY — John Palmieri, the new head of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, comes to Atlantic City like no other executive director of the authority ever has. Palmieri, who was head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority from 2007 up until earlier this year, and has headed redevelopment and economic development in other cities such as Charlotte, North Carolina; Providence, Rhode Island; and Hartford, Connecticut, certainly has the qualifications and background for the job. But so have other CRDA directors. What’s different is the CRDA he’ll be heading. Never in the authority’s history has the role of the CRDA been so large. An agency created to build housing in Atlantic City and...
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."
Annette Funicello Dies at 70