ATLANTIC CITY — A Memorandum of Agreement with DEEM Enterprises to move forward with a $2.7 billion car-centric development at Bader Field is on City Council’s agenda for Wednesday, Mayor Marty Small Sr. said Sunday.
Small has supported the plan to build upscale housing and a 2.4-mile raceway for high-powered cars owned by residents there. It would include about 4,000 units of housing, retail and other space, plus park areas.
The developers have said they would pay the city $115 million for the site, and Small has said that when fully built out the project would cut the local tax rate in half by bringing in owners of high value real estate to share the tax burden.
The state has been considering the proposal for about two years. An MOU was on the agenda a few months ago but was pulled at the last minute at the request of Small, who said the state wanted some concerns addressed. The state has final say over what can be built at the site.
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Bart Blatstein has proposed building 10,000 rental units there, along with a hotel, parks and more, and former state Sen. Bill Gormley has floated making it a city park.
“We look forward to an open and transparent RFP (request for proposals) process for Bader Field,” Blatstein said in a text response to questions.
Blatstein and others, including the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, have called for the state to conduct a competitive process for the right to develop Bader Field by issuing an RFP and allowing the public to see all the options.
DEEM Enterprises would clean up an underground plume of old aviation fuel plus fuel from a former public works site at Bader Field and cap it, said principal Kevin Dixon, of Dixon Associates Engineering, at a recent Press of Atlantic City editorial board meeting.
DEEM would include a reverter clause in any development contract so the land would return to the city if the project falls through, said Atlantic City attorney Dan Gallagher, who represents DEEM.
“We are ready to hand the City of Atlantic City $115 million” when a development contract is signed for what would be called Renaissance at Bader, Gallagher said last month.
“If the project fails, the city will still have the land” and the improvements, he added.
Most of the units would be second or third homes, so he does not anticipate adding many students to the school system.
Bader Field is a 143-acre former airport site and one of the largest open areas left in any shore community along the East Coast.
REPORTER: Michelle Brunetti Post
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