Work has started to improve the facades of three buildings on the 1600 block of Atlantic Avenue, the first of several blocks to receive a fresh look and give Atlantic City's busy main street a more inviting ambiance.
Buildings at 1600, 1608 and 1622 Atlantic Avenue will receive front exterior facelifts in a project financed through a fund reservation from the CRDA's Tourism District. Shore Building Contractors, Inc. of Hammonton was awarded a contract for $394,450 through a competitive bidding process. The work will be completed in approximately four months. Other buildings on that block will be completed at a later date through a different contract. The design, by Blumberg Associates, will create a look that preserves the city's unique architectural elements while projecting a clean, modern feel. CRDA partnered with Main Street Atlantic City to identify property owners and design strategies for this building improvement initiative.
Façade improvements to the 1700 block of Atlantic Avenue will begin within the next two weeks under a $689,812 contract with Aliano Brothers General Contractors, Inc. of Vineland. Additionally, the CRDA is accepting bids this week for façade construction on the 1300 block of Atlantic Avenue, and bid requests will be issued for façade improvements on the 1400 and 1500 blocks within the next two weeks. All façade projects should be complete this fall.
The CRDA also developed a partnership with the Atlantic County Improvement Authority to help participating businesses reconstruct or renovate residential units above their stores to provide workforce housing opportunities within the Downtown area. The ACIA offers low interest loans with a 2% fixed interest rate for a 20-year term. The partnership agreement will allow CRDA staff to assist the property owners with the application and provide professional services such as title, appraisal, environmental, asbestos and lead based paint assessments.
According to CRDA Chairman James Kehoe, "Many elements of the Master Plan are now being realized, and the Atlantic Avenue façade program will help achieve our goals of creating a more attractive and pedestrian friendly city, building on the strength of our midtown to improve existing business."
"We owe a lot to our Board of Directors for their support of Atlantic Avenue's distinctive role as the shopping district for many local residents," said CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri. "The level of investment in Atlantic City continues to grow and the city continues to improve for both visitors and residents."
Current construction projects in Atlantic City funded by CRDA investments include an 86,000 square foot Bass Pro Shops store at Tanger Outlets the Walk, which anticipates opening in early 2015; Atlantic Cape Community College's City Campus expansion, which is nearing completion; an all-new 200,000 square foot conference center at Harrah's Atlantic City; a 200-foot high observation wheel on Steel Pier that can operate year round; and developer Bruce Toll's BET Investments' retail development at the former Trump World's Fair site in front of West Hall of Boardwalk Hall, which is gearing up to begin construction this spring.
Also, Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City has requested CRDA funding for a $35 million capital improvement to the property's Boardwalk façade, addition of retail areas, a two-story fitness center and North Tower hotel renovations. Improvements introduced in 2013 that CRDA helped fund include the Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville complex at Resorts Atlantic City and the Wave Garage on Mississippi Avenue that houses the Arts Garage. CRDA also helped negotiate and fund the return of the Miss America Pageant to Atlantic City in 2013.