ATLANTIC CITY — Stockton University and South Jersey Gas could be among the anchors of the new Gateway redevelopment project at the foot of Albany Avenue in Atlantic City.
Christopher Paladino, a member of developer AC Devco’s board of directors, said the nonprofit is “doing the nuts and bolts of development” to court Stockton to the Gateway site, gathering cost estimates and other data “so they can make an informed and rational decision about their options.”
“We’re going through the design phase to be able to propose something to them once they get through their legal issues with Showboat,” he said.
He said the plan for South Jersey Gas to build a 75,000-square-foot corporate headquarters at the Gateway is far closer to being finalized, although it’s contingent on support from the state Economic Development Authority, which will discuss the project at its meeting next month.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved the redevelopment plan, which includes academic and corporate uses, at its meeting Monday.
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The CRDA is also providing $2.5 million in seed money to develop the 14-acre parcel that includes the site of the old Atlantic City High School, which was torn town in 1999.
Sharon Schulman, Stockton’s chief university relations and marketing officer, said Tuesday that school officials are very interested in the project but cannot commit to any new plans in Atlantic City until the issues with the former Showboat site are resolved.
“Are we talking? Absolutely,” she said. “We do want to enhance our presence in the city. But right now nothing is etched in stone.”
The college purchased Showboat for $18 million in December but is locked in a legal battle over use covenants at the site and has been unable to use it as planned for an Island Campus and privately run hotel. The college is spending about $400,000 a month in operating costs for Showboat, using money from the university investment fund.
Schulman said the Gateway project is in one of the most desirable areas of the city, but school officials would have to run a financial plan on any proposal to see whether it would work for Stockton and its students.
“(Acting President) Harvey Kesselman is committed to being a pivotal part of the renaissance in Atlantic City,” she said. “But we also have to do the prudent things that go along with that.”
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A representative from South Jersey Gas could not be reached for comment Tuesday.