Liza Cartmell, the recently announced CEO of the newly created non-profit Atlantic City Alliance, is an alliance of one — for now. hopes to have a new marketing plan for Atlantic City in place early next year.
ATLANTIC CITY — Last week’s announcement that former Aramark executive Liza Cartmell had been named the CEO of a new non-profit marketing entity in Atlantic City, the Atlantic City Alliance (ACA), came a few weeks after the announcement of new Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) head John Palmieri. Both are from out of town, but have roots and live in New Jersey. Unlike Palmieri, who is in charge of heading an authority that has existed for decades and has many employees, Cartmell has taken the reigns of a new non-profit 501 (c)(4) agency that currently has no employees. The aim of the ACA, which is chaired by Don Marrandino, the eastern division president of Caesars Entertainment, is to rebrand Atlantic City and develop a marketing strategy to boost tourism in the resort. Cartmell took time out of her busy schedule on Monday, Oct. 17, for a half-hour interview with Atlantic City Weekly.
The interview was conducted on a beautiful fall afternoon in a conference room at Caesars Entertainment’s Human Relations building on Pacific Avenue, where Cartmell is stationed.
Thank you for your time Liza. The announcement came last week that you were the CEO of the newly created Atlantic City Alliance, but you actually started the job before that, on Sept. 26. How long were you interviewing or involved?
I was first contacted in May about it and it was something I wasn’t intending to do, going back to work this quickly. I had intended to take a lot more time because I have elderly parents. My mother was in the hospital for the entire month of July and had had heart surgery so I had a lot going on and it just didn’t feel like the right time for me, but they just kept talking and it was just something that was really interesting, you know? So I kept talking and my mother is doing better.
Not may people had heard of the ACA until it was announced that you were the CEO. Was it a state initiative to create this non-profit entity and when did it begin?
Basically what happened was, in February 2011, the statute was passed, S-11, which created the opportunity for most of the responsibilities, or the creation of the [tourism] district [in Atlantic City], and then the housing of the district under the CRDA. But what probably didn’t get as much attention at the time was the design to have another not-for-profit entity [which would be a] private entity that would partner with the CRDA in terms of really taking over primary responsibility for the rebranding and marketing of Atlantic City broadly. And the contemplation is that we’re really going to partner and be locked at the hip, if you will, for moving forward as they tackle some of the more significant infrastructure development. You know, clean and safe initiatives, things that are really traditionally in the government purview that in the private purview would be the marketing piece of it. At the time that that was put in place, the search process was kicked off more in the March time frame to find someone that could lead that effort. But at the same time the casinos were very proactive with knowing that they had to accomplish certain things to really lay the foundation for what was going to need to be accomplished underneath the legislation, and that included a lot of the foundational work in terms of really looking at the competitive market place, looking at what the needs were in Atlantic City in terms of how we were going to develop more as a broad tourism marketplace rather than just a gaming marketplace — which has been going on for many years now, in terms of expanding the capabilities of the marketplace. And the recognition really isn’t out there generally in the market place.
What is the widespread perception?
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.
How many are employed by the ACA?
Oh. Small staff!
Very small staff, yes. But obviously the design is to grow that. But selectively. Because, you know, we have $30 million to spend and we don’t want to spend too much of it in the management of the promotional and marketing activities. We basically want the money to go into touching consumers. And we’re still in the process of figuring out exactly what that’s going to look like. We’re still finalizing the partnership represented between ourselves and the CRDA and some of that just had to wait because John [Palmieri] is now on board and I’m newly on board so we’re just trying to, you know, finalize the arrangement in terms of responsibility sharing very soon.
Are you excited about this task at hand?
Yeah, I am excited about it because you don’t really get an opportunity to make a difference very often. I’ve worked in a corporate environment almost all my life, but I was fortunate enough to be involved in something a little bit similar. For years I was at the Please Don’t Touch Museum board, in Philadelphia, and I spent a huge amount of time really helping them relocate from their 21st Street location into Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park. And it took it from a 40,000 sq.-ft. building with 13,000 sq.-ft. of exhibit space to 150,000-plus sq.-ft., which is really the right sizing for the Philadelphia market, but it was also relocating into a historically significant building that gets renovated, and that is in an underprivileged neighborhood that is sort of outside the UPenn umbrella and really hasn’t had the benefit of significant redevelopment opportunities. In some ways this [new task] is a bigger opportunity to make a positive impact. It affects New Jersey broadly but really, specifically, it really impacts the entire geographic area.
Have you had a chance yet to talk to Mr. Palmieri much in terms of broad ideas, working together, etc.?
No, no. Not yet.
You’re still formulating —
Yeah, exactly. Although I was just texting him a few minutes ago asking to get some time on his calendar for us to have more of this dialogue. No, we’ve got to get the agreement in place and, honestly, I’m already off and running on the rebranding. So most of the last two weeks I have [been putting certain items] in place. I hired a consultant, since I’m only a shop of one, who will help me go through the process of identifying, selecting [and] managing the agency that will actually do the development of the branding work and the creative content. So, we’re already off and running. We’ve had initial meetings with our consultant and he’s going to help us make our list of agencies that we’re going to go out and solicit within a time frame. Hopefully, we’ll have that agency selected by the end of January .
Will the agencies you solicit be from all over the country?
We don’t know yet. They’re going to submit a list. We’ve gone through the process of identifying what would be the qualifications that we’re looking for in the agency and they are literally refining those criteria and they’ll be going out to solicit to a whole list of agencies. Then we’ll put together a short list of agencies and from that we’ll go out and actually interview agencies and that will probably be somewhere between six and eight agencies. And from that we will select three from that process who will actually be told to go and please develop something and we will be able to share with them all of the work that the casinos have already been able to achieve. Because the casinos, in anticipation of us coming on board, either John [Palmieri] or myself, have already done an architectural scan of the [tourism] district. They’ve done a comprehensive study of all of the marketing needs that are in place here and who’s the target audience that we should really go after in order to grow visitation. And they’ve done a lot of work in terms of looking at development concepts to test whether or not they would be appealing to potential visitors because, while we have a lot to do here, we recognize there’s a lot more we’ll have to be able to do in order to be able to compete more effectively. So in near term, there have been things that have been defined, and then there’s much more long term, in terms of infrastructure and development which is really preliminary, kind of analytical work that we will be giving to the CRDA that will help them going through their process of their master planning.
So just to be clear, the final three agencies you select to rebrand Atlantic City will be selected by January?
Roughly, yeah. We hope to have them by mid-January so that we can really take their preliminary branding work and then create a really much more robust media plan. We really don’t know how much should be TV, how much should be print, how much would be viral, you know. All of those would be part of their recommendations. And my hope and aspiration would be to be able to go live in March. And they’re all telling me, ‘No you should really take a year for branding.’ We don’t have a year to just do branding. But it’s important to do it right so we’re trying not to run through it. It will be a very expensive process, but for the first year, to get the whole brand right, it’s the right way to do it.
So, it’s a delicate balance between getting it done as quickly as possible, but also getting it done the right way.
Right, it doesn’t do us any good if it’s not what we need. But on the other hand, if it comes in next October, November, December, it’s a little bit too late.
Have you spent much time in Atlantic City over the years prior to this?
A little bit, a little bit. Not a huge amount of time because a huge amount of my career was spent working around the country. You know, we were down here intermittently — you know, soccer tournaments, basketball tournaments, you know, the occasional dinners sometimes and evenings out kind of things. When my son got older, we brought him down here for an adult’s weekend, you know, one of the casinos where he was eligible to gamble.
Have you spent time in any other Jersey shore towns?
Well, I grew up in the Sea Bright area so, unlike most of the other people who trek down to the shore from the Philadelphia area — I mean, we’ve come down to visit whether it’s Avalon or Stone Harbor or Sea Isle or, you know, Ocean City; we’ve been to most of them once or twice, but for the most part when we’d go down to the shore we’d go up to Sea Bright, where my parents still are.
Do you think incorporating the entire Jersey shore into the marketing plan for Atlantic City is a good idea? I mean there are like two different Jersey shores, like you were just saying.
Yeah, one’s to feed New York and one’s to feed Philadelphia. That’s a sentimental Jersey issue.
Do you think in terms of the total package that you’re marketing to potential visitors, that Ocean City and Cape May and other regional attractions are things that could be packaged together?
Oh, absolutely. I mean, if you’re in Philadelphia they promote Lancaster, they’ll promote Harrisburg, and they’ll promote Hershey Park. There’s always a geographic [emphasis]. The initial focus, of course, is just emphasizing Atlantic City and its benefits and its activities, but, you know, people who come for several days, they’re always looking for diverse activities and I think in order to be able to market yourself, what you should be giving is a wide array of options.
Can you identify any things that have been done in the past that you want to stay away from in terms of marketing Atlantic City?
No, I think the philosophy, though, needs to be about letting people find activities that they can engage in at its simplest level, [and] encourage an environment where there’s more of an opportunity to let people watch people. Because that’s what they really like to do. In some ways, I think that’s something that could be accomplished pretty cost effectively and in a very friendly way that encourages just a lot more positive energy. Whenever you’re walking down South Street in Philadelphia, it’s partially just about people watching. So you need to provide places where people will feel comfortable, where there’s a lot of [foot] traffic, where they’re drawn there because there’s some sort of show or activity or entertainment or just little things that you can do.
And lots of options.
And lots of variety just scattered, you know, all over the place.
Do you think not having a big university or several of them, like Philadelphia or Boston, dampers the attempt to have more cultural —
I don’t think so because honestly, [college] kids can’t afford to spend much money. Based on the statistical work that’s been done, there aren’t a lot of 20-somethings or late teens that haven’t found their way here [already]. That is a marketplace that has been very well represented here. Very well represented.
At the casinos, at the Walk.
Absolutely, in the nightclubs, in the entertainment [venues and shows], you know. We are very well represented when it comes to youth. Where we’re not very well represented is with adults that have families or the sort of couples with double income, no kids, and retired. There’s plenty of those around here that are probably well represented but the other two, you know, the big bulk of the population, we’re not as well represented there.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the fact that Atlantic City was an entertainment hub from the 1870s to the 1960s, really, and what a rich history the resort has.
Yes. This has been a destination for decades. And for me the question is how do you get back to an environment that has [that going for it]. I always think it’s very productive if you get entertainment zones and you have very different characteristics around them. You know, in Philadelphia, you’ve got Italians in South Philadelphia, some of North Philadelphia, you know, you’ve got the Penn campus and you’ve got Northern Liberties and there’s certainly that opportunity here to create stronger neighborhoods with a stronger identity because those are the fun things that people like to go experience.
Would those be things that the CRDA would have to determine?
Yeah. That will have to be part of the [CRDA tourism district] master plan. That’s clearly not under my purview. But I think once you start to think through how do you create those kind of people-watching and those kind of unique destination characteristics, it is about creating individuality in a location that [visitors] can’t go get somewhere else. It’s special here. You know, I’ll tell you, when we go to New York, we will always be stopping at the bakery, you know, for Carlos Bakery, because we love the Cake Boss [TV show] and you know, that’s how you create a destination. And there are 200 people in line [at the bakery]. I mean, it’s become a phenomenon. And you can do that with discrete locations. You know, if you do something really well and you do it in a really unique, special way, you can create destinations throughout the entire location.
We have the White House Sub Shop that always has a line out the door.
Exactly. And those are the things, you know, whether it’s somebody’s pizza place because they have the special sauce or whether they put sardines on it or I don’t know what, but you find those little things. But they’re really locally driven and they don’t have to be huge.
I heard a few people over the weekend talking about the ACA, the announcement of your position, and some of them were saying they were afraid, because over the years there have been a lot of attempts to rebrand A.C. ‘Maybe they’ll just reshoot an old visit AC kind of commercial, just with new actors, some fear. Others are afraid that instead of rebranding A.C. in a modern and attractive way, there will be simply a repeat of the sins of the past, just re-shooting old commercials and have them air in the New York market for a few weeks and then that’s it.
We’ve had discussions about whether or not we even want to use a New York agency. I mean, that’s where the world tends to go for agency representation, but we’ve been talking about making sure we get an agency outside of New York because there’s definitely a market for it in the Philadelphia area. One of the elements that we need to spend time on is re-looking at all of the rebranding and commercials and marketing that was going on before, and that’s sort of your homework — you have to know what was going on before you and whether it has worked or not worked.
This time next year, what do you hope to have accomplished?
A meaningful increase in visitation.
Is the year-round aspect of A.C.’s tourism an important one to focus on?
Oh, it’s absolutely important. I mean the casinos and the facilities locally do pretty well in the summer. Not as well as they’d like even in the mid week in the summer, so maybe that would be the more easy time slot to try and fill up. There’s already a propensity that [people] want to come here because the weather is better [in the summer]. In the off-season, there is an absolute need to drive in visitation. Christmas week, [we’re] probably not going to do it no matter what, but having said that, being able to fill more up at the end of January, February, March, when there’s usually a lot of business travel, that would be a great opportunity.
A lot of people in the Ocean City/Upper Township area hadve never even been to Atlantic City — unless, perhaps, they work there. But some of these folks have a family or enjoy a fine dinner and a show, and A.C. is only 15 minutes away from them. Are there people in the area, not even as far away as Philadelphia, but in Avalon or Ocean City, that need to be driven in?
Yeah, they have to think that there’s an activity that they want to do [here]. But it’s more than a beach, because they have one.
So what kind of activities do you think will draw them in?
Well, number one, I think the dining. There’s world-class dining [in Atlantic City]. But to some extent, I think you have to understand the timeframe, midweek, whether you can create dining packages that are more affordable for local residents. And some of that goes to what I consider the casino level or the facility level marketing. So that’s not as much an individual campaign as it is overarching over all of the facilities to try and say, you know, there are restaurant weeks that you can do, or maybe there are entertainment packages where you can do an offer in the local papers where it’s, you know, buy-one-get one, where you’re really trying to reach out to the local communities to really try to fill in. You might try to draw in from the broader marketplace, but you need to advertise in your local weeklies to see whether or not you can drive in more activity.
There are people on the mainland that have never been or hardly go to Atlantic City.
Yes, well, the interesting things that the research has indicated, that the casinos did already, is that if you have been to A.C. you tend to be more surprised by everything there is to do and the appearance and the safety are better than their expectations before they got here. And if you compare it to the people that have not been here, the perception of the cleanliness and the level of crime is way higher than the people who have been here. So clearly from a marketing perspective, it’s about driving people in for visitation and experimentation because the research shows that they’ll be in a more favorable disposition even as it is today, if they just come.
Will the ACA’s focus be mainly on the tourism district?
No, not exclusively. I mean, it is because that’s the bulk of where your activities are but as I mentioned, I’m not really tasked with the development form. You know, I’ll play a role and try to provide guidance and advisory if I’m asked, or even if I’m not asked [laughter] and try and get in there and help. But no, my primary concern will just be to get people to come. And if they come and they do something outside the footprint of the district, that’s fine too because it rises all boats. One of the challenges here is inconsistent visitation. It’s harder to manage to provide a great experience. In my experience at Aramark, I was in a very seasonal business and it’s very hard to deliver a consistent level of high quality service when you have seasonal staffing — a lot of turnover, a lot of retaining. It’s just really hard to execute consistently when you have highly seasonal operations or when you have big ups and big downs like we have currently. You’re much better off if you can staff consistently with people who can train consistently. If you think about it in a baseball park, we would have a 10-day homestand, and by the 10th day, [the players] were ready to drop, and then they went away for 10 days. And then you’d bring your whole staff back, and then it’d be like they’d never been trained. Day five they’re cooking, day 10 they’re dead. Exhausted. You know, so if you can have something where people have reasonable shifts and consistent days of the week and have people here on a continuous flow, everybody can perform better. It’s just easier.
You had said that every day should be New Year’s Eve in Atlantic City. What exactly do you mean by that?
What I mean by that is people that are coming here looking to have an enjoyable, special experience and they want to be treated by the people that were serving them as if they’re having a special experience. And that’s what I mean by New Year’s Eve. You want to be exclusively welcomed. You want to feel like everyone’s thrilled to serve you and that they’ll go the extra mile. And that just makes your whole experience more special and then you’ll want to come back.
It’s kind of like the city depicted in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. In those days, you’re looking in those old beautiful clubs, and Nucky and his comrades are treated like royalty, and visitors know they can too. There are a lot of relevant connections between the 1920s and today. Treating everyone like a Nucky Thompson.
Yeah, it’s important that you not only meet expectations, but that you exceed them. That’s what gives people the, ‘Oh wow, I have really been treated well. I just got such great value.’ And that doesn’t even have to be monetary. It can be just the warmth of a smile or holding an elevator or picking up your bag and helping you back to your room because you’re struggling. There are just so many small moments of service that can change your perception of a visit.
There was a campaign kicked off a few years ago [in 2004], back when Curtis Bashaw was the director of the CRDA, that was called ‘Courtesy Is Complimentary in Atlantic County.’ There were yellow pins that had that slogan, and those in the service-industries in the area were encouraged to wear the pin, take some training class I think and then, it all kind of evaporated. I never really heard about it again after that.
Yeah, it can’t just be a flavor of the day. People need to realize that it’s part of their job. People will see that and then return to their facility.
In April the CRDA held a public forum held at Dante Hall discussing a proposed arts district in Atlantic City. At least two gentlemen from the CRDA were spearheading the effort to study and possibly develop the district on Mississippi Avenue. Stockton College, which worked out a deal at that time to run Dante Hall, seemed in favor of the district and local artists, gallery owners and arts and cultural facilities from all over the region were meeting with the CRDA and having discussions. There is a perception that Atlantic City has no artists, has no culture, has no soul. However, dozens of artists attended that meeting in April and have been wondering if the proposed arts district is dead, as there has been no further public discussion on the topic. There are a lot of artists and art lovers in our area; some are kind of hidden, but they don’t really have a South Street or a Greenwich Village or a retail presence, or even a Bourbon Street where they can create, have studio space, live, work, walk, get coffee, hear live music in clubs, and shop around. Do you think an arts district would help the resort as a tourist destination and change the perception about the city?
I think that’s a great example of something that could be a little jewel to bring people in. Again, not my purview, but CRDA’s purview in terms of the master plan, but those are things to me that create uniqueness and need to be built into the city’s landscape.
Atlantic City has a fascinating entertainment history, which kind of tells the story of American music and entertainment, and the evolution of African-American music, certainly, Plus, with all of the other history in A.C. and the international attention HBO is giving the resort, do you think the marketing of A.C. should or could incorporate its historical significance? There’s been a lot of talk for maybe an entertainment history museum. We already have a historical museum and one of the only art museums on a pier surrounded by ocean views —
Except in Sydney.
Right, but shouldn’t there be more of an emphasis on attracting visitors to learn about the rich history of Atlantic City and shouldn’t the city’s museum be more of a focus in terms of tourism? Maybe a new museum?
Absolutely. Not only bringing in the past, but making it relevant for entertainment today is, I think, a key opportunity. I think it’s a great opportunity to maybe honor New Jersey’s greatest and not just Atlantic City’s greatest. There’s not enough in this state that celebrates New Jersey’s greatest, which usually is its people.
You’ve spent a lot of your career traveling around the country, especially to different tourist destinations. Will you be doing that with this job?
I’ll be here for the most part. I’ve seen enough of the world. That’s part of the reason why I got out of the gig at Aramark. I didn’t need to be on an airplane anymore. I’d done that enough.
I heard Caesars Entertainment’s Don Marrandino talk recently about the need to drop some of the price points for conventions in Atlantic City so that the market can compete with other cities. The main point that I think Mr. Marrandino was making was that our price points are about the same as bigger cities such as Philadelphia, Boston, but that Atlantic City is a smaller city and the cost for companies and other organizations to have conventions in Atlantic City should be lowered to reflect this difference and encourage more conventions and business in Atlantic City. Do you agree?
I think that’s an issue at a lot of the urban convention centers throughout the country. It’s certainly an issue here; it’s an issue in Philly, Boston and New York, and D.C. — they’re all probably too expensive for the companies that want to come and do business. It is disproportionate to the size of the marketplace here; that’s my understanding. But I can’t say first hand because I haven’t dealt with it. But that’s what I have been told, that it’s as expensive, if not more so, to do business here and my viewpoint is that it’s too expensive everywhere. Because companies are living on tighter budgets, they’re bringing fewer people [to conventions], they’re doing fewer events, and if we want those buildings to not be empty airplanes that take off and land with no passengers then we need to do something to make them more competitive. It’s not just labor costs; there is just a whole host of things that we can do to make it a better environment for business partnering.
And not just making it more economically friendly, but giving these convention-goers more things to do in Atlantic City, right?
Right, special activities — because they want to come and spend time together, but they are also going to want to go out and do things from a team-building perspective. So really being able to construct the right kinds of activities [for them] is critical.
How soon and how often do you think you’ll be working with the casino representatives, the CRDA, the ACCVA, and other city and state entities?
Every week. I mean, I’m here. I have lunch with Jeff [Vasser] tomorrow and will hopefully be meeting with John [Palmieri] tomorrow and I just met with all my board today. So, we’re in constant dialogue.
And the board is made up of all casino CEOs.
Right, it’s the casino CEOs. Not all of them, yet, but, let’s wait until Revel gets opened.
Speaking of Revel, do you think it will be a game-changer in Atlantic City?
Oh yeah. I think it will be a wonderful addition. But I think, if you look historically, unlike most of the other casinos it will celebrate what Atlantic City has to offer in terms of its natural resources, rather than blocking them off, which is an unfortunate thing that happened. I mean, when you come to Las Vegas you build what you have, I mean it’s a desert, but here you have dunes and beaches and … it’s one of those long-term things that we need to make sure that the atmosphere here is truly inclusive of all that is around us.
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.
The ACA’s Liza Cartmell talks about the first year of the DO AC campaign and changing people’s perception about the resort.
As New Jersey Gov. Christie might say ‘Why fly to the desert when you can Do AC this fall?’
The ACA initially had 50,000 magnets printed in multiple colors and given away at select spots like its Boardwalk and AC Expressway visitors centers, the Atlantic City Free Public Library, the Atlantic Avenue county office building and at select community centers. It blew through the first batch, had a second order of 30,000 printed up, and recently put in a third order when the second got gobbled up like 5 ½-inch round magnetized hotcakes.
Following the July 4 “Red, White and Blue Celebration Concert” at Kennedy Plaza on Wednesday (starting 7:30pm on the A.C. Boardwalk, adjacent to Boardwalk Hall), and following the fireworks display after the concert, the Atlantic City Alliance (ACA) will debut a 3-D sound and light-projection show that will illuminate the façade of Boardwalk Hall.
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.
15 picks for your hot Jersey shore summer action
“Being a boxing fan, I appreciate the legacy and history of boxing in Atlantic City. Of course, during the casino era, in the 1980s, when Don King was promoting the Mike Tyson fights, this is where the action was. And the town came alive with every major fight. It was good for the economy. Everybody did well.”
The goal of the campaign is to build a year-round visitor base and shift consumer perception of the resort.
A special presentation from ArtC — an organization dedicated to promoting the arts in southern New Jersey — in partnership with the Noyes Museum of Art and Stockton College, Photo SJ 2012 will showcase two of the world’s most accomplished and respected professional photographers: John Russo and Seth Resnick.
'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 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."
CRDA Boss John Palmieri: “We are very excited about the preliminary concepts being assessed and look forward to sharing this material, and we encourage the public to take time to become involved in this process. It takes a wide range of stakeholders to create something that Atlantic City can be proud of.”
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.
Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation today to create an Atlantic City Tourism District and announced a breakthrough in the Revel Casino project.
As in previous years, the Metropolitan Business & Citizens Association (MBCA) Winter luncheon kickoff event at Resorts in Atlantic City featured a keynote address — an unofficial state of the city address — by Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford.
The bills create a CRDA run tourism district encompassing the city's casinos.
When New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno addressed leaders of the state’s tourism industry in Atlantic City last week, her speech had a sort of “The state giveth, and the state taketh away” feel to it.
Further, as Atlantic City Weekly has learned earlier this week that two key associates at the CRDA who were spearheading an Arts District campaign for Mississippi Avenue in the Ducktown neighborhood of the resort, are both no longer with the CRDA,
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...
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.
As detailed in the Jan. 5 Atlantic City Weekly, a state-mandated Master Plan that outlines Atlantic City’s proposed Tourism District was given a Feb. 1 deadline by Gov. Chris Christie, one year to the date he signed the legislation designed to make the resort town a safer and more attractive place to visit.
Recently the ACA gave its popular DO AC magnets a holiday makeover of sorts, producing limited-edition discs with glittering metallic red, green, gold and silver backgrounds.
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