ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (May 19, 2020) – The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority resumed regular business Tuesday and authorized a $15 million capital improvement budget for projects inside the Atlantic City Convention Center and Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.
CRDA Board of Directors Vice Chair Richard Tolson said the $15.16 million Convention Center Division capital improvement budget will be used for “projects already in motion” or those that “can be done during the course of this year.”
One example of such a project is the $5 million switchgear replacement in West Hall. That contract was awarded to Calvi Electric Co., of Atlantic City, during Tuesday’s public meeting. More than $3.5 million of the project was budgeted for in 2019, but work did not begin last year.
In 2019, the Convention Center Division capital improvement budget was $18.55 million.
Executive Director Matt Doherty said all CRDA facilities capital projects are funded through the 2014 luxury tax bond proceeds. Following the authorization of the 2020 capital improvement budget, Doherty said the bond proceeds balance was roughly $3.9 million.
The board approved a one-year extension of a $15 million fund reservation for the AtlantiCare expansion project, which is scheduled to break ground in August. Doherty said CRDA and AtlantiCare are in the final stages of negotiating a grants development agreement for the project.
A public question also provided an update on another development project: the supermarket. Doherty said there were some “environmental challenges” that CRDA and ShopRite are working on. No timetable for that project was given.
“We’re still progressing along and trying to push the deal together to bring a ShopRite to Atlantic City,” he said.
While Tuesday’s meeting was scheduled months ago, the CRDA has held two special meetings in consecutive months to authorize immediate actions related to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. Since March, CRDA has allocated more than $600,000 toward community food assistance and social service initiatives as a result of the financial impact on the Atlantic City area of COVID-19 business closings.
Covenant House of Atlantic City was the latest social service agency to receive grant funding from the CRDA. The board authorized $16,503 to “support the increase in operational costs to house homeless youth as a result of the COVID-19 state of emergency.” Covenant House will use the additional funds to purchase personal protective equipment for staff and to fund additional cleaning of common areas.
The board also authorized additional funding for the Tourism District restroom renovation project. After approving $350,000 for the project in November, an additional $60,375 was awarded Tuesday. The design team on the project proposed a restroom trailer for Gardner’s Basin that can be stored in the winter.