New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has acted on a strong commitment to support the regional and state economies through the ongoing revitalization of Atlantic City’s tourism and gaming industries.
In January 2011, Governor Christie signed S-1866 to pave the way for new investment in the city by allowing the issuance of two new casino licenses for facilities with a lower minimum bedroom requirement of 200 rooms rather than the 500 mandated under current law. S-12, signed into law in February 2012, provided regulatory reform and modernization yielding millions in cost savings to industry. $30 million of those savings are being reinvested in marketing efforts to promote Atlantic City.
Since the July 2010 Hanson Commission Report, the Christie Administration has made clearadvancements to revive growth and development in Atlantic City. This progress includes:
Atlantic City Tourism District: Launched in April 2011, the district is an area in which the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) is authorized to facilitate development by assuming planning, zoning and other land use functions and develop and implement a Tourism District Master Plan. These include:
· Land Use Regulation & Enforcement: The CRDA processed more than 90 land use certification applications and approved most of them within 48 hours of receipt of all required materials. Hearings were held on two applications, which are advancing to the CRDA Board for approval.
· Security and Cleanliness: A new police substation is being implemented in mid-town Atlantic City, while CRDA is assisting with converting a former visitor information center to a Boardwalk police substation. In the citywide Demolition Project, 21 structures have been cited for demolition, six have been demolished and 15 are in the hearing process.
· Special Improvement Division: New Boardwalk and beach signs were created and all old signs were replaced, with 65 Boardwalk signs installed and 50 beach signs installed at the beach entrances. Thirty additional beach signs are being created for installation. Additionally, 90 flower boxes have been installed at each beach entrance, with 30 additional boxes being constructed. Throughout the beach and Boardwalk, trash collection and other cleanliness and maintenance functions have been increased.
Tourism Advisory Commission: The 10-member commission was appointed, met and formed four committees to address neighborhood cleanliness, safety, marketing/public relations and development.
District Master Plan: The CRDA adopted the Atlantic City Tourism District Master Plan in February as a blueprint to revitalize the district and position Atlantic City for sustainable, long-term economic growth and job creation.
Boardwalk Improvements: The first phase of installation of new lights has begun, Kennedy Plaza landscaping improvements are being installed and four landscaping areas at Boardwalk street ends are in the design phase. Construction of the Boardwalk façade for Ocean Club will begin this fall. Exterior lighting for Boardwalk Hall is being tested, with installation planned for 2012, which will provide dramatic lighting to show the building’s iconic features.
Downtown Plan: The CRDA Board of Directors approved a contract for a Workforce Housing and Retail Market Analysis, which will lay the groundwork for new housing investment. Also, ArtSpace, which the CRDA engaged in 2010, released their market assessment for an artist community. Additionally, Stockton College now holds the lease for Dante Hall and is planning uses for the theater. CRDA is advancing negotiations with The Cordish Group for Atlantic City Live.
The Inlet: A public-private partnership formed between CRDA and Revel Entertainment is facilitating infrastructure improvements and development of new housing and retail projects. Relocation of the Jitney Association is scheduled to be completed in spring 2012. Discussions have begun with regulatory agencies to replace the seawall and repair the Boardwalk in the Inlet. Also, landscape improvements on New Hampshire Avenue have been completed.
CRDA Construction Activities: More than $100 million is being invested by the CRDA in projects including widening and landscaping of Martin Luther King Boulevard, road improvements for improved access to the Revel site, construction of the Christopher Columbus Mixed Use Center (garage) opening early 2012 and Boardwalk façade improvements.
Strengthening New Jersey’s Tourism Efforts: The Christie Administration is strengthening New Jersey’s tourism efforts with a new role for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.Governor Christie has endorsed the recommendations of the New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment Advisory Commission to strengthen the state’s tourism promotion efforts. The recommendations, detailed in a report released in March, outlined a series of common sense and aggressive reforms to streamline and centralize the state’s patchwork of entities responsible for tourism promotion and advance and better promote New Jersey’s tourism industry.