Pat Fasano, who owns the New Orleans-themed pub Bourré, has purchased nearly every inch of the 200 block of New York Avenue and is working to transform the area into the ultimate entertainment hub.
“This is a big, multiyear investment. I’m excited about it,” Fasano said.
The Orange Loop — named after the color of St. James Place, New York Avenue and Tennessee Avenue on a traditional Monopoly gameboard — has become one of Atlantic City’s go-to destinations.
Nearly four years ago, the area was deemed an economic dead zone until a yoga shop called the Leadership Studio opened as the first new venture on Tennessee Avenue. This served as a catalyst for businesses like the Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall and Rhythm and Spirits to open on the street.
Bourré is located two streets over at 201 S. New York Ave. In the lot to the right of it is a 15,000-square-foot, mixed-used commercial building that will be the first piece of new construction to break ground. During a meeting on July 20, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved the project’s site plan.
“The building will have commercial space on the first floor with two floors of residential up top,” Fasano said.
The Dreams Cabaret building, at 137 S. New York Ave., will be converted into a mixed-use building as well.
“That will be office space upstairs, and downstairs will be the Garage Bar we’re going to call it, that will be connected to a bistro,” Fasano said.
Fasano has also purchased the land on the opposite side of the street along Westminster Avenue where he plans to build nearly 50 Airbnb rentals, a stage for musical performances and a storage container hotel.
A three-story building on the corner of New York and Pacific avenues will also be transformed into a multi-use facility.
“We’re building a roof-top bar, the second floor will be event space and first floor will be a brick oven pizza concept,” Fasano said.
The large parking lot will be available to all of Fasano’s businesses, as well as the Anchor Rock Club.
The mix of entertainment venues, hotels and short-term rentals will allow all of the businesses in the area to collaborate and gain exposure, Fasano said.
“When you have these Airbnbs combined with the container hotel, the bars and the concert venues, you get a lot of opportunities for cross promotion,” Fasano said.
When it’s all said and done, Fasano and his investors will have poured $20 million into the area.
“Money is energy, and if you don’t use it, it’s dead. What good is it?” Fasano said. “You have to get it out there and get it working.”
The developments will help build the city’s image as a place that has more to offer than just casinos, said Jane Bokunewicz, faculty director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University.
“The development are a real positive for the resort. The new lodging, dining and entertainment venues not only expand the city’s offerings, but also prove that developers have faith in the destination’s future,” Bokunewicz said. “The neighborhood forming around Tennessee Avenue, St. James Place, and New York Avenue sometimes referred to as the ‘Orange Loop’ or ‘North Beach’ is becoming a distinctive tourism draw in its own right — opening visitors’ eyes to more of what Atlantic City has to offer beyond the casinos.”
Bokunewicz also believes the developments will attract a younger crowd of tourists.
“New styles of lodging, such as Airbnb and a hotel constructed from shipping containers, also have particular appeal to younger, millennial guests who are looking to fill their visits with unique experiences they may not be able to get anywhere else,” Bokunewicz said.
Fasano, who made his name and wealth by being an integral part of the Cookman Avenue renaissance in Asbury Park, said in 2020 that Atlantic City has much more to offer investors than the Monmouth County city.
The 24-hour liquor licenses, an abundance of parking, federal tax credits made possible by Opportunity Zone designations and the affordability of property all make Atlantic City an attractive proposition, he said.
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